Monday, March 1, 2021

Work culture

The desire as well as ability to work honestly and genuinely in pursuit of one’s ideals is essential for progress in this world. Even underdeveloped countries have some sort of a work culture. However, our people can take pride in its absence. In the past we did have a strong work culture, especially in rural areas. Women generally work more than the men in our society, especially in rural areas. They work in the fields during sowing, transplantation, and harvesting of paddy. After the harvest, they continue to assist in most of the related jobs. This is in addition to regular and normal household chores. The town dwellers too were hard working in the earlier times. Not any more though. The ease loving modern Nagas has been blessed freely available cheap outside manual labour. Today almost all skilled and unskilled labourers in the State are from outside the State. They have penetrated every sphere of our life. They work in paddy fields. They work as carpenters and masons. They work as manual labour on construction projects, brick kilns, and a host of other labour intensive fields. At the same time they are preferred as they are the cheapest and the most docile. Another factor responsible for the loss of work culture is the easy flowing money that the Government of India is pumping into the State. Most of the ills of the society emanate from this easy money. There is absolutely no accountability. An honest and a genuine worker have no place in this set up. He is either choked up or swept away like a straw before the wind. The free for all situation for decades now has dealt the deadliest blow to our work culture. The worst example is the various branches of the state administration. Our government has employed an enormous number of workers in every field. There are over ten people working on a job which could be easily undertaken by one person. Yet no work gets done! In the present set up there are almost 20 people in line from the lowest clerk to the administrative head for the disposal of a job. The concept of officer level correspondence and disposal is totally missing. A good chunk of time is spent by officers in gossip and sipping of tea. The lower rungs do not move at all unless greased. Heads of department spend half of their time in circulating through various offices of the Secretariat. The ‘meeting culture’ with tea and snacks is quite prevalent. The story is same in the field offices. People always look for an excuse to avoid work. No one has either the sense of responsibility or the inherent conscience to compel him to do the work for which he is paid. Such sublime and noble behaviour does not fall in our code of ethics, if we have one? We must have some other reasons to work. One has only to visit different institutions like government schools, public offices, hospitals, and even the set ups of the people who are paid to enforce the work culture to know the truth. The old saying of “Work is worship” has totally lost its meaning in our present set up. So is it possible to restore our ancient work culture? Can anything be done to change the present sad and tragic state of affairs? Yes, the first thing is to restore the dignity of manual labour and introduce a hire and fire system of employment. Everyone prefers white collar jobs and avoids working with his own hands. Even our engineers prefer well furnished cosy offices to really satisfying field jobs. It is a pity that even the highly educated people prefer to get the lowest government job as they consider it as a lifelong social security as no one can touch them, whether they work or not. Government also finds it easy to create an army of slaves whether they do any productive work or not. The first initiative has to come from our political bosses. The work culture should flow from top downwards. We need leaders who say “follow me” rather than “move forward”. They have to set the practical examples on ground to be followed by the masses and not just preach without practice.