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PEACE, NON-VIOLENCE & CONFLICT RESOLUTION > MY NON-VIOLENCE Intellectual and Manual Work

 

125. Intellectual and Manual Work

Q. Why should we insist on a Rabindranath or Raman earning his bread by manual labour? Is it not sheer wastage? Why should not brain workers be considered on a par with manual workers, for both of them perform useful social work?

A. Intellectual work is important and has an undoubted place in the scheme of life. But what I insist on is the necessity of physical labour. No man, I claim, ought to be free from that obligation. It will serve to improve even the quality of his intellectual output. I venture to say that in ancient times Brahmans worked with their body as with their mind. But even if they did not, body labour was a proved necessity at the present time. In this connection I would refer to the life of Tolstoy and how he made famous the theory of bread labour first propounded in his country by the Russian peasant Bondaref.

Dharmapur (Noakhali), 6-2-'47

Harijan, 23-2-1947