Working Men


Dr. Ravi P. Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

There are all sorts of workers who can be seen working in various jobs in Delhi — capital of India.

Some are working as engineers , some officials who are engaged to ensure that the work on hand is being done properly and in reasonable time. Some of the workers are petty — low level workers who work on simple tasks that may take two three days time or even less amount of time.

When I see some workers of this category working near my house in Delhi, I usually go near them and talk to them just for fun — not having a specific purpose other than sharing a few words with them and offering them some clean water to drink if they don’t have a water bottle with them .

As I approach them I see that they are usually wearing dirty  shirts with some words written on them in English language. Recently I went to a petty worker and saw him in a dirty looking T – shirt that had the following words written on it :  New York City

I went to the man wearing this T- shirt and jokingly asked him

“Have you been to New York City?”

The man was obviously puzzled by my words. I again asked “Do you know where America is ?”

His puzzlement did not recede.

In fact he was puzzled but also seemed to feel   that I was unnecessarily bothering him and this would take him longer to complete the task he was working on. So he stopped looking at me and resumed working on the task that he was supposed to complete soon.

I have had this type of experience with other workers also. The clothes they wear are usually dirty and have some photo and a few words written on their shirts. In fact another worker that I saw had a photo of   Eiffel Tower.

I could not help saying to him  “ Do you know where this Tower is located?”

I need not have asked the question to the worker wearing his dirty looking shirt with the photo of the famous Tower. It was obvious that he would not have any idea of France or Paris and the Tower.

I can give a few other  examples of labourers wearing dirty clothes with  photos of some monument of a foreign country. But one monument that is recognised by several workers is the  Taj Mahal   of     India located in the city of Agra not too far from the capital city of India.

Let us hope that some photos of other world  monuments are also recognisable.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 1 Jul 2024.

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