Self-help is the best help. ‘God helps those who help themselves’ is a maxim true for all times. It is the master key that unlocks all the treasures. This is true of individuals as well as of nations. If you sit with folded hands and look on for others help, you will work your own ruin with your own hands.
Self-help is invigorating whereas outside help is enfeebling in effect. Thou shalt eat thy bread by the sweat of thy brow’ says the Bible. A nation that perpetually depends on others’ dole and help perishes.
The foundation of a nation’s economic prosperity must be laid on the nation’s self help and not on foreign aids. The great nations of the world like England, America and Russia have risen through sheer self-help. Self-help raises a man from poverty to power and pelf. We must turn to good account all the opportunities that come our way. In it lies the secret of our success. In it and in it alone, lies our safety.
Self-help implies recognition of the ‘dignity of labour.’ Some of our greatest men cooked their own meals, polished their own shoes and washed their own clothes. Alexander the Great would saddle his own horse and even groom it with his own hands.
The great Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar of Bengal would, in disguise, carry the suitcase of a dandy on railway platforms in order to teach him the lesson of self-help. Babar swam and crossed every river and did every physical exercise himself, but his successors employed an army of slaves and servants to twirl and stiffen their moustaches. What was the result of this idleness and false sense of dignity? The Moghul Empire stood liquidated and dismembered.
The educated people must realize that all labour is sacred. ‘The blacksmith, the cobbler, the weaver and the sweeper are all engaged in the sacred work of serving humanity. No work, however humble, is mean. It is the spirit with which we do it that gives it either dignity or indignity.
Honour and shame from no condition arise
Act well your part there all the honour lies.
General MacArthur drove his own car. George Washington would lift timbers and so teaches his soldiers the lesson of “self-help”. Self- help raises our spirit and steels our muscles. It engenders in courage, initiative, will-power and resourcefulness. Lack of self help leads to servility and ruin. ‘Rest is rust’ and ‘work is worship’.