While Ramu worked hard farming his lands, his son Mura thought he could get by just pretending to farm. But eventually Mura learnt that there is no subsitute for hard work.

Ramu, a farmer, lived in a village earning his living by farming. His son, Mura, hated maual work. Ramu advised his son to work hard for a living. To appease his father, Mura began to act like he was farming. Days passed and he became a good actor.

A drama company came to the village and Mura got a chance to play the role of a farmer. He became a famous actor. As time went by he became a political power head.

Being the head of the State, he had to face challenges in agriculture. He consulted his ministers. They too were actors. They suggested a novel idea.

Acting real

Why not make all the farmers actors? Instead of real farming, they could just act like they were farming. The idea sounded good. They decided to get the farmers away from their regular work and to appreciate acting. Many television channels began screening programmes for farmers showing them the worth of farming by manual work through various forms of entertainment.

All the farmers except Ramu were attracted to this ‘farming enterainment’ and learnt the art of ‘acting farming’. They even praised their leader for freeing them from manual labour.

Obviously, all the produce from the fields looked original but they were not original. Rice looked like rice but it wasn’t. Vegetables and fruit looked real but they were not. Milk was white, but it was not milk.

And then Mura had a baby. Mura smiled at the baby, but the baby did not respond. He was worried. He sought his father’s help. Ramu came and smiled at the baby. The baby smiled back.

Mura wanted to know how the baby had smiled only at his father. Ramu explained to Mura how he had deviated from the natural and ethical law of respecting manual labour and mixed acting with reality. The child was real and hence could only respond to what was real.

Mura repented and changed. He stopped acting like the head of State and took to farming. He did, but how could he convert his followers?

What is the message?

Hard work gives us a life of truth, simplicity and peace. It helps us live in tune with that which is real. Our present lifestyle may distract. But if we take up micro actions using hard work we can save the earth.

Richard B. Gregg, in his book The Power of Non-violence gives reasons for hard work. “Very early in the development of the human embryo, a nerve grows out from the spinal cord to the hand and fingers, thus hands are closely related to his brain and mind. Work with hands gives immediate and tangible results. It causes a prompt, perceptible change in one’s thinkfing and feeling. This is the reason why Gandhi resorted to the promotion of hand — spinning and other village industries. Giving money is not enough, nor is it at all an equivalent for actual manual work.”

Day camps for students

Chennai-based Gandhi Peace Foundation is organising day camps for students to learn the worth of manual work, respect it and join hands with those who live by manual work.

The camp is on from September 29 to October 3. The topics for discussion are Manual work for Health and Hygiene, Holistic education, Social Equity, Personality Development, Earth Care.

For further details, contact Dr. S. Kulandaisamy, Director of the camp. Phone ; 9962479005