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Civilization is the product of human sweating

Op-Ed 2022-05-01, 10:58pm

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Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed



Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed

Labour is at the root of all creation of human civilization on earth. Today’s civilization is the product of the relentless labour of countless people throughout the ages. People are busy to earn a living. He has to meet his needs through labor. The cave people gave birth to the present advanced civilization only through labor. Everything that is visible in all aspects of human life has been achieved through hard work. Labor is an essential element in every field for the betterment of human life and human civilization. Man is not born under his own, but under his own action. It is through labor that man can win the struggle of life. Man has to survive in the face of many adversities. In these cases, hard work is his only tool. Therefore, proper dignity and recognition of labor should be given in personal life and in society. Although there are differences in labor at different levels of society, none is less important. Labor at every level is equally important according to social needs. The peasants, laborers, teachers, doctors, artists, scientists, statesmen all make their due progress in the society and the country. So the importance of labor in human life is immense. People make new progress through new creations.

The hard work of today's people inspires the people of tomorrow in new work. In a word, labour is the only way to establish human dignity and immortality from time to time. Unemployed people are lost from the earth with death. On the other hand, people who respect labor live on the pages of history forever.

Labour rights have largely been protected in Bangladesh by the Labour Act of 2006. Section 100 and 108 fix daily working hour of a labour that it should not exceed 8 hours and 10 hours including overtime respectively. Child labour has been prohibited under section 34 of the Labour Act. It has ensured maternity welfare facilities for woman workers in chapter six. Maternity facilities are restriction on employment of a pregnant woman during the eight weeks immediately following the day of her delivery, payment of maternity benefit in case of the death of a woman and restriction on termination during pregnancy. Chapter twelve also ensures the compensation for injury caused by any accident. There are other chapters in the above mentioned Act which deals with welfare measures, provision with regard to health, hygiene and safety, wages and payment, trade union, their participation in companies’ profits, provident funds, etc.

Our Honorable Supreme Court has given a lot of landmark decisions for the protection of labour rights. Bangabandhu sought the intervention of the Commonwealth members in the just struggle of the oppressed people against colonialism as well as to stand against racial discrimination and violation of human rights. He said, “There remain, however, areas of the world which should be a source of concern for us. Until there is strict implementation of Paris Peace Accord on Vietnam and stoppage of bombing in Cambodia, prospects of peace in South East Asia will remain unreal.” Bangabandhu demanded a just solution of the continued occupation of Arab territories and the denial of the legitimate rights of the Arab people, and the people of Palestine. He urged the world leaders to support the struggle of the people of South Africa, Rhodesia, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and other parts of Africa. In this context, he did not forget to mention that Bangladesh was pledged by its Constitution to support the just struggle of all oppressed people against colonialism and racialism.

Bangabandhu also highlighted issues like the illegal occupation of Arab lands by Israel; the fundamental rights of the Palestinians; the struggles for liberation in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Guinea Bissau, in Latin America and other parts of the world; apartheid in South Africa and the realisation of aspirations of the people of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. He said, “Let this Conference unequivocally pledge its positive support to those who are struggling for national liberation and for their realisation of their legitimate rights in Africa, Asia and Latin America.” At the 29th session of the UN General Assembly held in September 1974, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman said, “Today, the nations of the world are faced with critical choices. Upon the wisdom of our choice, it will depend whether we will move towards a world haunted by fear of total destruction, threatened by nuclear war faced with the aggravation of human sufferings on a tremendous scale marked by mass starvation, unemployment and the wretchedness of deepening poverty, or whether we can look forward to a world where human creativity and the great achievements of our age in science and technology will be able to shape a better future free from the threat of nuclear war and based upon a sharing of technology and resources on a global scale so that men everywhere can begin to enjoy the minimum conditions of a decent life. The great economic upheavals which have recently shaken the entire world generate a sense of urgency about building a just international economic order.”

Just as the Father of the Nation was vocal against discrimination, he was determined to ‘put a smile on the faces of the afflicted.’ In his Independence Day speech at Suhrawardy Udyan on March 26, 1975, Bangabandhu addressed the workers. On that day Bangabandhu inspired the working people for a new awakening. In his speech at the Non-Aligned Movement-NAM Summit held in Algiers in 1973, Bangabandhu said, ‘The world today is divided into two parts, exploiting on one side and exploited on the other. I am for exploitation.’ The exploited, deprived, oppressed, persecuted working people gave a strong place in their hearts and uttered such poignant words not only in the country, but all over the world. He knew that equality in society would not come unless the just rights of the exploited and oppressed people were established.

Shortly after independence, the Father of the Nation strengthened the rights of the working people in several articles of the newly enacted constitution. Article 14 of the Constitution speaks of the emancipation of peasants and workers: One of the fundamental responsibilities of the state will be to liberate the working people - the peasants and workers and the backward sections of the people from all forms of exploitation. Article 15 (b) guarantees the right to work and wages: the right to work, that is, the right to guarantee employment in exchange for a reasonable wage considering the quality and quantity of work; The right to reasonable rest, recreation and leisure.

Article 34 prohibits forced labor: all forms of forced labor; And if this provision is violated in any way legally; Will be considered a punishable offense. Bangabandhu's sincerity has given much importance to the rights of working people in the constitution of independent Bangladesh.  The hardworking people of Bengal have earned the right to remember the first of May with reverence in free environment, for which the country and the nation are proud today. May Day is a burning symbol of the rights of working people. Today is a special day for the exploited, deprived and oppressed people of the world. The hard working people of Bengal, especially the workers-peasants, students-youth, who wrote the history of independence by fighting against exploitation, oppression of the reactionary the colonial tyrants, will never forget the sacrifices of the people of Bangladesh. They will never bring any demands to us again. But the names of these millions of martyrs will be written in golden letters in the history of this country.

In the end, we can say that the foundation of civilization has been laid by the harvest of labor. That is why the right to labor has been included in the constitutional list of Bangladesh and it has been given due status. Great May Day is a source of inspiration for the realization of the rights of working people. Moreover, Bangabandhu, the father of the nation, was the most deserving representatives of hardworking people. Let us all unite and build the nation self-reliant.

Bangabandhu always fought to establish the rights of the poor and wanted to see smiles in their face. Above all the 1st May appears before us with the spirit of comradeship, as a source of inspiration and humanity.

Former Deputy Director General, Bangladesh Ansar and VDP, Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed is  a writer, columnist and researcher