Brain Over Brawn
It is Diwali today! Happy Diwali everyone!
Lately I have been finding my political science classes to be very inspiring and thought-provoking, specially since we are studying fundamental topics like equality and freedom.
This post is a result of one line that I came across my political science book that struck me.
"Certain societies value those who perform intellectual work over those who do manual work and reward them differently."
It is a bitter truth-even in a society as evolved as ours, we still give more weightage to intellectual power rather than physical prowess.
Case in point are the laborers that work unwearyingly in harsh conditions and help in the development and progress of a country at the basic level. They may not be educated or may not contribute as directly to the economy as an entrepreneur, but they work just as hard.
So why is it so, that they are horribly under-paid while other people who are engaged in 'intellectual' jobs are paid handsomely?
Equal salaries for both sets of people may not be possible. But what is possible is to bridge the wide gap.
It is unusually hot and muggy for a September afternoon.
A bead of sweat follows the crease of his brow and drops on the grey cement mix below. His swarthy well-beaten skin has turned a shade darker under the glare of the intense sun; his thin linen vest and rolled up pants don’t offer much protection.
He establishes a rhythm with the shovel each time he brings it down on the mountain of wet concrete.
His calloused hands have cuts in them which run from everywhere to everywhere.
He is not muscular and lacks the six-pack which has become synonymous with being manly. But he is every bit a man, who can bear the 40 degrees heat and the painful blisters on his palms without flinching.
A thin film of brick dust and cement has coated him from head to toe and he is enveloped in the pungent smell of sweat and dust.
He works tirelessly through the afternoon without taking a break.
By early evening he has transformed and molded the insignificant heap of cement mix into a solid pillar, all in a day’s work.
His only reward is his contractor letting him off ten minutes early.
At home, he washes the grime off his body and changes into a fresh change of clothes. He sits down on the floor of his bare one-room shanty.
Since he can afford the luxury of sabzi and dal only once in two days, sometimes three, he tucks into his modest dinner of leftover rice from yesterday mixed with some water and pickle.
He is lulled off to sleep by his own thoughts. He does not mull over or wonder where he would have been had his father not made him drop out of fourth grade. Life would have been different, for sure, but it does not matter now. Today, he may not have everything he needs in life but he is still grateful for what he does have. He may not see God face to face, but he knows that he is there, looking at and after him.
And with that thought he gets up every day and gets ready for work.
He may not be the most educated person but he just might be the most dedicated one. And that, my friends, makes all the difference.