Freedom- independence. Had a very different meaning 73 years ago. Bound in the shackles of the Britishers, our dear freedom fighters revolted and fought selflessly, without thinking of personal consequences. It didn’t matter whether they were trained or not, were rich or poor, had the means or belonged to which caste or religion. Their eagle eyes were focused only on one common dream- free India. Not only did they sacrifice their lives, but also motivated others to stand up against injustice.
Netaji’s JAI HIND or Bankim Chandra’s
VANDE MATARAM can never be forgotten and Indians today will forever be indebted to these strong pillars of our free and independent India.
Having said that, today, FREEDOM has a totally divergent approach and a very different meaning. No doubt India has made tremendous progress in the last 73 years, nonetheless there are so many aspects which we can never be proud of. It is quite shameful, that globally, India stands third in the highest rape statistics. Crime in general is equally towering. Likewise, increasing corruption is not far behind.
Isn’t it ironical, that the freedom for which countless people sacrificed their lives, lost families and homes, our nation was divided, what have we done to cherish that independence? What has been our contribution in preserving the rich heritage of India?
What is the freedom status of our country today? It has definitely changed. Youth, the future of our nation, what is freedom to them? Freedom of choice. To be allowed to do what they want to do, without being judged by family, friends and society.
Women of India, what is freedom for them? Education and the security to live without fear. To be able to breathe and live with their heads held high in dignity. And not just considered a toy which can be moved around at the whims and fancies of the male dominated surroundings.
Furthermore, the poor and underprivileged, for them, to be able to fulfill survival needs would mean freedom. It would be enough for them if they are not sidelined by the rich and are able to obtain their rights.
The government and the common man, both are equally responsible for the state of our country as it is today. No one can excuse themselves and say, “I am not responsible for this.”
Each one of us needs to take it personally. Just like our freedom fighters. If they had thought, “It’s not my headache, why should I bother?” You think we would be a free nation today?
My motherland has given me immense. What have I done in return? We only have to try and make our local neighbourhood a better place, in any small way we can. And when each one thrives like this, our country at large will see a proud and progressive tomorrow. Like Bapu said,
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”