THE FRUITS OF LABOUR ARE SWEETER THAN THE GIFTS OF FORTUNE*
Perhaps the greatest gift that God has bestowed on man is his aptitude for work, and for that reason the advantages that we derive from honest labour are more valuable than the gifts of fortune. It will be an outright ingratitude to the Lord to 'hide that talent* which He has so kindly conferred upon^us. Moreover, the comforts and achievements which result from our independent labour bring a much more unalloyed and elevating type of pleasure than the satisfaction that we can derive from external props. How eternal is the bliss, and how permanent is the joy which results from honest and strenuous labour, while the pleasure which a man may experience after coming across a windfall is only ephemeral and short-lived.
A sense of independence and self-respect is developed in a man when he tries to secure his livelihood with the sweat of his brow. To earn our livelihood with our own hands and not to rely upon the gifts of fortune is the fulfilling of the divine will conecerning man. Blessed are those who depend upon their own resources and initiative. They are the men who are honourable and progressive in spirit, while those who count upon the gifts of fortune are superstitious, parasitical, and wanting in that manly backbone which characterises all self-made men. They are always looking for the results of lotteries, or trying uselessly to discover a treasure in a certain corner of their house.
Moreover, to crown all, even if the gifts of fortune confer upon.a person certain material advantages, they cannot heighten his mental, moral, and spiritual life, for in these spheres, as Aristotle has said, 'the prize is given to those who toil in heat and dust.' A person who is prosperous as a result of good fortune, has no first-hand experience of the ups and downs of life and for that reason cannot face the stern realities of this rough world, with the same patience and
*Nazr-1-Muhammad (b. 1910) grew up to become N. M. Rashed (d.1975) one of the most important Urdu poets of this century. As a schoolboy at Government College, Lyallpur, he edited the college magazine and also wrote a number of essays for it. The essay reprinted here is from The Beacon, nos. 5 & 6 (Sept-Dec, 1926). We are grateful to Mr. Faruq Hassan, a son-in-law of Rashed and himself a fine poet and critic, for making this interesting juvenilia available to us.