Dignity of Labour

We were visiting Aberdeen fish harbour and chief executive of the harbour was taking us round the places in his car. At one place he stopped the car, sought our permission for a short break and went towards a road-side workshop. A welder, a young boy in his dungarees, protective helmet and welding goggles, was working underneath a crane.  He called him up, had a word with him and returned.

Now this is something ordinary and not even worth mentioning, but the next thing that he said was something which surprised us.

“He is my son and I had an important message to be delivered to him.”

“Your son?”  

We said almost in a chorus with awe. He said “yes”, and wondered why we were so surprised about it.  He informed us that his son was one of the best welders and the most sought-after welder in town, and that he was proud of his son. We were looking at each other and none of us had the courage to say anything. 

This simple incident jolted us. We could never have thought of such thing in Pakistan, where father is the chief executive and his son works like an ordinary welder under his very nose in his own town. Sometimes I wonder why our country lags behind in spite of talent and God-given natural resources, whereas the western countries are far ahead of us in terms of development.  This incident was an eye opener for me, and the answer to my query. We do not appreciate the value of labour and talent, and we weigh everything in financial terms. A welder in our country is considered as a low paid worker of no consequence and we would not like to even sit close to him. And if I happened to be in a commanding and elevated position, my son could not imagine of doing such a blue-collar job and should instead be considered as prince of the area.

No wonder we have lost the respect for labour and are trailing behind in the comity of nations. Western world has respect for labour and they are ruling the world. The day we realize the real worth of labour, we can also retain our lost heritage of being on top of the world, as Muslims.

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