Manual work means doing work with lands. Although it is the age of science yet manual work has its own importance. We have to do certain things with our own hands. At different times in the history of mankind, manual labour has been looked down upon and the manual worker treated as an inferior bring. Most of the ancient kingdoms were based upon slavery and even the Greek city states, which taught the world the lesson of political freedom and self-government, consisted only of a small number of free citizens, who devoted themselves to the higher arts and professions, leaving all manual work to slaves.
In modern times, slavery has been abolished in all civilized countries, though less than a hundred years ago slavery still existed as a recognised institution; and the working classes in Europe and America have pushed themselves up to a position of power, influence and comparative comfort. They are not in that position now where they used to be. In post they were in the same state as we are today.
At present the world has changed and the values of life have also changed. Manual labour is recognised today, at least in theory, as being worthy of free citizens, and no stigma attaches to man because he works with his hands rather than his head. And yet the leisured classes still look down on the working classes and many a young man of the middle class would rather wear a black coat and sit on an office stool on a paltry salary, than earn double the money as an artisan and soil his hands bit the never likes to do it.
Dislikeness of manual work like this is absurd and wrong, and the distinction hetween mental and manual labour is misleading; for all manual work, even so-called unskilled labour, requires some thought, and the skilled work of the engineer, the carpenter, the potter and the builder is really more mental than manual. It takes more intelligence to be an expert electrician, or even mason, than to be an office worker, busy all the clay.
In Pakistan, even the humble sweeper, who does unpleasant but absolutely necessary work, ought to be respected, instead of being regarded with contempt as unclean and thrust down into the lowest caste. The only things we should be ashamed of are idleness and trying to live “hy one’s wits” without labor. “Work is worship”, and “to work is to pray.” That is why Quaid-e-Azam said, “work, work and work”. Or religion Islam also holds those people in great esteem who work with their own hands. Our Holy Prophet also used to do everything with his own hands.
We are turning out thousands of young men from our universities as Bachelors of Arts every year, most of whom seem to have been spoilt for manual work by their education, and whose ambition is to be clerks and government officials. If these would devote their intelligence to industry, it would be the hetter for the country as well as for them.
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