On my Nation’s Independence Day, I wish all my compatriots the best of/for our nation and the best that independence can bring upon us. I know it’ll be quite sometime since I-day that this will be published, but nevertheless.
On the occasion of independence, a very good friend asked me what “Freedom” actually meant to me. And a good devotee to my dictionary, I promptly checked its definition. “the power or right to act/think/speak freely; the state of being free; not being subjected to or affected by something/anything; a special privilege or right of access”—that’s what my faithful friend conjured upon me. And although I blame not myself for the healthy habit of dictionary reference, I felt I brought shame to the “freedom of thought” that I was given, and to the question itself, for it was entitled to a lot of thinking.
In a country like India with it’s intricately laid out constitution and a mostly explicable form of governance, freedom means a lot. A lot has happened since the time of independence. Are we still as independent as we think we are?
Imagine this, in 1947, we were free, and celebrated independence. Now, we do celebrate it, but not “freely”. There are a thousand guards and a hundred norms for fear of someone/something that can hinder the Independence Day celebrations. Even the leaders of the country aren’t free anymore – not even free enough to indulge in wrong doing (albeit they still do exercise their freedom to do so)! Our economy too is not as free as it seems to be. If we were fighting for freedom the East India Company then, we are becoming submissive to and being “acquired” by international companies, now(modern day colonization I guess). (FYI, TCS(nor any other Indian co.) is not the largest IT Company in the country). No FDIs, and No Freedom.
Feel bad about the situation in our country? Well, some citizens, the more optimistic ones do think that it is because the country is independent and gives each one of us freedom, that there are people expressing themselves by form of violence; That there are groups of people fighting to free themselves from the tyranny of a free country. Wonder what freedom means to them and how would they define it! And as for the others, the ones neutral are still around and blissfully ignorant about say, the brouhaha about the 123 or the hush-hush about a possible cabinet reshuffle! And the ones who are on the negative end of the spectrum are mostly talking the language of McCain and Obama.
Obviously the salaried person has no freedom in any form, then there are the businesses – questionable again. Finally the government – definitely answerable in the next elections and a parliament session. But really – the Government is free enough to cry “treasury is all empty” and still manage to hike up the government employee’s salaries once every couple of years and manage to pay them by dipping into others pockets. Now that’s freedom – you do something, you are appreciated, your responsibility is done with and you don’t really need to worry about it – ever!
Freedom to me is a well respected state of doing what I want to, not bringing harm onto any living being, and respecting the rights conferred upon me and the society by the nation, respecting my compatriots’ freedom.
Freedom to me means to be able to question, comprehend and re-define what freedom really means to me.