“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, Where knowledge is free and the world is not broken into segments by narrow walls”
As you are reading this, chances are your cellphone would be buzzing with messages dripped in patriotism and your social media feed would be crowded with yearly rituals of glorifying our Freedom fighters and their sacrifices. Rightly so, as India marks its 70th year into Independence as the world’s largest democracy. Before we swell our hearts with pride, let us allow ourselves a moment to reflect back on how far we have come as an independent country. Let us spare a thought and ask ourselves – Are We Really Free?
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Once known as the land of wealth and prosperity, our country’s fate changed for the worse when East India Company landed their steps on our soil. It started a series of exploitation and blood sucking which lasted two centuries. Not only the Britishers took our wealth and artifacts, they gave us malaise and impoverishment in return. Not a fair deal! With dividing policies and politics, the Britishers slowly but surely took indirect control over our own land. Instigating us against each other, they created gaps amongst our society. Class systems, Taxonomy, Elitism and Colonialism are gifts given to us by the white men and sadly, we as a nation are still not able to get rid of them. It all started with Mir Zafar, the close relative and military commander of Nawab of Bengal. Mir was generously bribed by Robert Clive and turned him into a puppet of whitemen. Joining hands with the British army, Mir Zafar selfishly helped them win the Battle of Plassey (1757) to take complete control over Bengal. What the British started, the Maharajas continued….
Coming to the 21st Century, 70 years after we got ‘Freedom’ from East Indian Company, much hasn’t changed since Independence. We are a neo colonial society with fate of a billion people many a times determined by corrupt, inefficient systems and legacies prevailing since Mir Zafar times. These Legacies are making a mockery of democracy while turning a blind eye to the bigger picture that is – India, the Country!
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Ask Yourself – Are You Free?
We take immense pride in achieving milestones and exceeding expectations as a developing country, but the reality is we are still under the rule of modern day Mir Zafars, euphemistically known to us as political leaders, elite business class and god men. They run the show for us, allowing ourselves to live our lives silently behind invisible bars. India is a land of martyrs and greats, however the realization that we could have achieved so much more than a country is a melancholy one. We celebrate 70 years of Independence without even realizing the real meaning behind it. The truth is – we do not make our choices, our choices are being made for us. A meaning which has taken several twists and turns, freedom has become nothing more than a transfer of power from the Britishers to the elite Indians.
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Ask Yourself – Is the Society Free?
When will women be free to walk with pride? When will we free ourselves from the shackles of poverty, casteism, child rape and female feticide? Is it too much to ask? Not really for the country which aims to be the next global superpower by 2020! It’s shuddering to realize that a country which is capable for leading the world by examples is a country where the price of a life is worth a mere rupees, where every three minutes a women is subjected to violence, where internal terrorism has wreak havoc, where corrupt leaders and goons are elected as leaders, where judiciary allows itself to break the law. Agreed, it easy to talk about the problem than fix it – but will we even realize that not talking about it is actually the biggest sin we as a society can commit! Aren’t we all sheeple then?
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For a country with a glorious past and rich culture, we ought to take pride in our country. Our diversity is the thread of togetherness which binds us all. Let us not forget that together we stand and divided we fall. Here’s how everyone who is reading this can contribute to the change we need –
- Don’t Hate, Educate – If you have the privilege of learning, share it with someone who doesn’t. Education is the key to unlock the doors of freedom. Many NGOs in India are doing a stupendous job towards the cause of educating the children who cannot afford to go to schools. You too can contribute without needing a lot of resources, what’s required is the will to make our country better and to help the underprivileged grow.
- Practice, Don’t Preach – Aren’t we all guilty of this? From spitting on the streets to littering the surroundings, we see it happening everyday and we find ourselves indulging too. Keeping your country clean is the first step you can take towards making a difference. Get rid of the shame associated with stopping others who are doing no good to our country. As educated youth, it is our moral responsibility to stop violating rules ourselves and then blaming everything on authority. Let’s lead by example, shall we?
- Take Responsibility – We believe that corruption is something which is practiced by others. However, the truth could not be farther away than this. It all starts from you – from within. From bribing policemen to politicians, we are all guilty of brooding corruption. Let’s take responsibility and resolve to fight it. From our personal to private lives, let us stop being immune to this menace and start taking steps to eliminate it. Change will happen, one step at a time.
- Corporate Social Responsibility – Is business all about minting money? Think Again? As citizens of the country it is more so vital to contribute our wealth and wisdom to those in need. After all, the measure of an organization is not what it sells, it’s about how efficiently they serve the community. Take a leaf from the book of Indian entrepreneurs like Ratan Tata and learn to think beyond business.
- Pledge to Learn, Unlearn and Relearn – We should strive to learn from the good samaritans and become kind and compassionate towards each other. We should strive to unlearn the dogmas of society and the orthodox prejudices which have chained us since centuries. We should strive to relearn the vision our martyrs shared to make India the greatest country in the world.
Let us free ourselves from corruption and injustices.
Let us free ourselves from communal hate and political agendas.
Let us observe freedom of speech and expression.
Let us observe tolerance towards each other.
First and foremost, we need to free ourselves from the blind patriotism which will overpower us for a day (or two) and die a slow death the rest of the year.
Let us take pride in being what we are – Indian first and everything else afterwards. The day we stop asking for change and start working towards it, we will realize what it feels like to be independent. The choice is ours.
As we celebrate our 70th Independence Day, let us all pledge to be better and awake humans. Let’s not submit ourselves to mindless authority. Deaf, Dumb and Blind – till how long will we keep on pretending?
It’s time to ask our inner self – 70 years on, have we really emancipated ourselves? Freedom or Freedumb – The Choice Is Ours. Until the mentality changes, Independence Day will be limited to a national holiday filled with fleeting pride and honor. Let us all stand up for something, lest we fall for anything. Jai Hind!
“Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action, Into that heaven of freedom, let my country awake”
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