Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Escape Labanism

Laban is a Biblical character. He was the brother of Rebecca, the mother of Jacob. Jacob was the great patriarch after whom the Jews got the name Israel.  
Jacob had to flee from his own home because of some family issues. He was advised by his mother to seek shelter in the house of Laban. Laban turned out to be a protector and a blessing for Jacob.

Jacob lived and worked there for Laban. Laban was a large scale shepherd who had hundreds of lambs. One day Jacob expressed his wish to marry Rachel the second daughter of Laban. Laban readily agreed with one condition that Jacob should pay a dowry to him, as was the Biblical custom. Since Jacob had no wealth, Laban asked Jacob to work for him for 7 years without pay. Jacob did work. As per the custom of the land the father, Laban gave his daughter to Jacob by dusk as his wife. But Laban cheated Jacob by giving his first daughter, Leah as his wife.

Jacob was in deep love with Rachel. Laban agreed to give Rachel to him as wife, for which Jacob had to go through the same process. Jacob worked for Laban without any reward for the next seven years. He finally could marry Rachel. Now he had two wives.

Jacob wanted to return home. He understood that Laban was really exploiting him and making wealth. Jacob had nothing even after 14 years of hard work, but Laban became a hundred times rich by all the labour of Jacob.

Laban did not want to miss the labour of Jacob. So he ventured into a contract. Obeying the conditions of the contract between Jacob and Laban, Jacob worked there for 6 more years. After 20 years of hard work, from which Laban benefited a lot, Jacob realized that his works were not rewarded well. Not only that, since Jacob also made some wealth by the hard labour of last 6 years, Laban and his sons were angry towards him. They wanted all the wealth to them and sent away Jacob empty handed.

So Jacob decided to return back to home. He escaped secretly with his wealth and his wives. But he was traced down by Laban. Fortunately Jacob could explain his plight and enter into a treaty of peace with him.

What have you picked from this story? Laban, Jacob and the whole story allegorically teaches us lessons against exploitation, treachery and impoverishment. Let us see how it is:

1.       Laban is one of your relative, friend, your family friend etc. You just cannot slap him at the face and walk away.  You are indebted to him this way or that. But he is the exploiter of your life.

2.       As long as you work for him, you are impoverished and he prospers. You know that all his wealth is the fruit of your hard labour, for which you get only peanuts. He admits often that your work is a blessing for him, but never increases your salary.

3.       He knows your importance in his business/industry/project. But he will never go beyond a peanut reward for you. Exploitation is his character. He is ready to offer anything to keep you with him, except a pay hike.
4.       He is a cheater. He signs contracts with you, but cheats you every now and then and breaks the contracts wisely. You are left with nothing to object him. You cannot prove his cheat. He does it wisely.

5.       If you talk of leaving him, he comes up with another contract that looks more favourable for you. Still it will stand far away from your real reward.

6.       You may make wealth even in this circumstance, by hard work and God’s blessings. Laban may be getting his fair share. Still he is angry to see you becoming rich. His face darkens at your richness. He makes your days with him unhappy.

7.       At last, you have run away and escaped from him. He will come after you with threats. He wants you to sign a new contract and return to him. He will do all he can to make your life difficult.

Are you in such a situation; in such a relationship; in such a partnership?
The only way to escape is running away.

Run away. Never return. Never enter into another contract.

Professor Jacob Abraham                                                                            

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