Leisure may be defined as the spare-time which a man gets after his bread and butter activities are over. It is the time which a man is free to pass in any way he likes. He has already his day’s work. He has no longer to worry about the work by which he earns his living. Still he has sometimes left on his hand. That is leisure or spare time. A man gets more of leisure during holidays that in working day.
Modern life is a busy life. The pace of life gets faster and faster every day and a man must hurry and utilize every moment of his life, otherwise he would be left behind in the race of life. But some leisure is necessary for the happiness of life. There can be no happiness for a man, unless he gets some time to pass in the way he likes best. The great English poet Davies protested against this over-business of life when he wrote.
What is this life, if full of care
We have no time to stand and stare.
The poets consider that life is not worth living without leisure. One must have enough time to enjoy the beauties of nature, and the beauty of women as well as other good things of life. One must have time for singing, dancing and pursuit of other fine arts, for all such pleasures and activities are an essential part of life. If a life lacks these elements, it would be dull, dry and unhealthy. In short, as the poet has emphasized, life would not be worth-living without leisure.
But merely to have leisure is not enough. It is also essential that it should be rightly used. India, as a nation, do not know how to put their spare time to right use and consequently we often hear people complying that they feel tired during holidays and vacations. Such people misuse their leisure. They would either pass it in sleeping, playing cards, idle gossip, listening to the radio, or at the most in visiting the pictures. They are all passive activities-activities in which they do nothing and which do not at all require any use of their brains. Therefore, such people feel bored and instead of wishing for more of leisure, wish for less of it.
The spending of leisure rightly is an art, and a difficult art. It must be spent in activities which require some, “doing”, some acting, some use of the brain. The correct way of passing leisure is to acquire culture, to make and contemplate beautiful things. During holidays, one may go out on picnics, as is done in the west, and thus get an opportunity of enjoying the beauty and freshness of nature. Picnics are health giving and provide the much needed change so essential for health and well-being. They refresh the mind and make it forget for the time being the prosaic cares and worries of this sorry life of ours. They provide the much needed touch of poetry in one’s life. They increase efficiency and send back a man to his work with greater enthusiasm and energy.
Leisure may also be passed with great profit in the making of beautiful things. There was a time when the Indian skilled worker used to make beautiful carpets, baskets, toys, etc., in his leisure time, but now this art has been lost. Many of the Indian farmers and workers today are faced with problem of enforced leisure (unemployment) but they fail to use it rightly for the own good and for the good of society. They are advised to use their time in making beautiful things as their forefathers used to do. Similarly, the educated may take to some hobby which would both entertain them and make them more cultured. For example, they may do painting or the study of standard works of literature, more specially poetry. Gardening is another of the finest uses of leisure, for God Almighty, it is said, Himself loves a garden which he created first of all.
The way in which a man passes his leisure is the test of his education. A really educated man would pass it in such cultural act ivies as give pleasure and lead to self-development as well Indians, generally, misuse their leisure, for the education they receive is bookish and does not make them intellectually curious. They are not eager to know and to do; they have not been educated in the real sense of the word.