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Are We Really Free In Today's Independent India?

11/09/2015 8:12 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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DIBYANGSHU SARKAR via Getty Images
BANGALORE, INDIA: An Indian woman carries a small child as they sell tri-colour national flags at a traffic junction in Bangalore, 14 August 2005, on the eve of the country's Independence Day celebration. India's security forces have been deployed in force across the country against possible militant attacks ahead of the 15 August celebrations marking the nation's 58th anniversary of its independence from the British rule. AFP PHOTO/Dibyangshu SARKAR, (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

"If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India." - Max Mueller

As India enters the 69th year of independence, we see a great zeal running across the nation, evoking the thoughts of freedom and the pride of being an Indian. We are sure to see the 'Happy Independence Day' hashtags and pictures trending on Twitter and Facebook and TV channels immersed in numerous desbhakti songs to celebrate independence - yes freedom that we had got 68 years back from the British rule.

Let us recapitulate the happenings in the decade that began in 1940. The decade saw two iconic moments of the last century - first, of course, the pre-independence struggle that India was going through and the other was the horrendous Holocaust. While the horrors inflicted by Adolf Hitler on Jews, gypsies, and other minorities in Germany spread ramifications all over the world, the non-violent struggle for India's independence spread another powerful message - a message that the world respected, a freedom movement, Satyagraha as it was called, which later affected the American civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King, and the anti-Apartheid movement of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Here is a look at India's journey from being the jewel in an imperial crown to emerging as an independent nation brought by Discovery Channel.

Which brings us to this question - are we really independent today? Even after 68 years of achieving freedom, we cling to some of the worst issues faced by our society -from age-old prejudices of caste system, honour killings and dowry, to the refusal by courts to address marital rape as a crime, people blaming women for the crimes against them and lawyers defending the actions of rapists. We are a country where the PM needs to start a cleanliness drive across the nation to keep our surroundings clean, where the sessions of Parliament are washed away with trivial issues of blame games to prove the self-worth by the honorary parliamentarians.

Addressing the nation on the eve of 69th Independence Day, the honorable President Pranab Mukherjee has rightly expressed his concern by saying, "the roots (of vibrant democracy) are deep but the leaves are beginning to wilt. It is time for renewal. If we do not act now, will our successors seven decades hence remember us with the respect and admiration we have for those who shaped the Indian dream in 1947?"

Let us collectively take this responsibility of being truly free - by realizing that as we demand our rights, in the same way, we need to fulfill our duties too. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel once said - "Every citizen of India must remember that he is an Indian and he has every right in this country but with certain duties."

The message by 'The Tiranga' - an awe-inspiring video posted on the 'Being Indian' channel has gone viral which explains this F-word - freedom with which we are all very obsessed. A must watch, I would say.

A few lines from the video:

"Freedom not like a flower, but like a mountain from which molten lava emerges and solidifies...

It is like clay that you can mould to create and it is up to you to create;

it is a choice to create...

Freedom is never giving up. Freedom is the absolute truth... and in truth there is valour..."

Let us try to get free this Independence Day instead of getting lost in the murky odour of hypocrisy, injustice and evils that cripple the society. It is not just a holiday or a day for great freedom sales but more than that.

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