So year after year the whole nation gets together to commemorate India’s independence from the British rule and its birth as a sovereign nation. The beloved tricoloured flag adorns every nook and corner of the country. As a community that loves to celebrate, we take full advantage of this national holiday as well. I can already foresee a barrage of sms’ and every social networking site flooded with patriotic messages. From songs about our country’s greatness to movies portraying the heroics of our soldiers, Independence Day truly captures the whole country’s imagination.
For one day.
Even though this is the 66th time we are celebrating our independence, we seem as confused about it as the first time. We embrace the diversity that exists amongst us, while glorifying everything Indian and basking in our pride of being part of such a great nation. We forward messages and wish each other a ‘Happy Independence Day’ while remembering our past struggles and how we overcame them.
But, the very next day we go back to living our lives.
Freedom is an elusive term:
- The state of being free or at liberty rather than inconfinement or under physical restraint.
- Exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
- The power to determine action without restraint.
- Political or national independence.
- Personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery.
Of course we are celebrating political and national independence, but are the other interpretations of freedom impossible for us to achieve?
How free are we?
Are we really exempted from external control, interference, regulation?
Can we actually determine actions without restraint?
Finally, is every individual of our country liberated from bondage or slavery?
I don’t think so.
I don’t have a solution, or a practical approach to deal with any of these issues (if we can call them that).
However I do believe that on this day, when we remember history and all that our forefathers stood for, we should realize that some things are worth fighting for. And fight we must.
Let this day be a reminder to constantly struggle against any form of oppression. Our freedom struggle was characterized by the absence of violence and that is a great distinction to have, but it’s imperative that we embody the soul of freedom and fight for our rights. I do not want to highlight a particular cause that needs attention and help. I implore you to look around and inwards and find that cause.