celebrated 60 years of Independence on the 15th of August, 2007, with lots of hype and flair. Rightly so. We fought hard for it, and we deserve to celebrate the day in style. Had it not been for the pomp and show, my 6-year old would never come to know why this day is any different from any other holiday! But are we really free??
Freedom, in my mind, is the ability of an individual to do as he pleases, as long as it does not harm anyone else, or infringe on someone else’s freedom. Does the India of today provide that freedom to me? Surely, it has to be more than being able to sing Vande Materam instead of God Save the King, or for that matter being able to decide who gets to rule you and me (not that we have much to choose on that front!). It has to be more than promises of a secure future, of finely laid plans to eradicate poverty and unemployment. It has to be the Freedom to LIVE.
I will consider India as a free state when two adults in a remote village in Haryana are not brutally butchered just because they happened to marry against the wishes of their elders. India will be truly free when films won’t be banned because they show a particular political party in a bad light. More importantly, India will be truly free when we have a framework, in form of laws and punishments for those who infringe on freedom- not just on paper, but enforced.
Till such a time India will be a sovereign but NOT free. We have struggled hard for our sovereignty and I am very proud of the fact that we are our own masters. But we have never really taken any effort to be really free. The only weak effort I can think of in recent times was the protest march against the freeing of Jessica Lal’s killers. Do we see any protests against banning of books needlessly in the name of maintaining religious harmony? Do we even see a whimper of protest when women are burnt over a few thousands of rupees in dowry. What is scary is that these evils are being taken for granted in our country.
Our freedom struggle is yet to start. Hopefully the day we celebrate the day when we are truly free isn’t too far away…………..