15th August was India’s Independence day and I came across at least 7 (i did not count) posts asking if we are ‘actually‘ free. Every one questioned the existence of freedom in the true sense of the word. So, I googled the word and tried to answer (and justify) to myself that India, is in fact free and carries forth this message across to her inhabitants.
According to the Oxford dictionary, freedom is defined as the following:
- the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants
- the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved
- (freedom from) the state of not being subject to or affected by (something undesirable)
- archaic familiarity or openness in speech or behaviour
The country deserves to be respected for what has been tried. 65 years is young. I agree that we have a long, long way to go, but India, has provided for a lot of what we enjoy. We know how badly rotten the system gets in here because we ‘know‘ it. How many of us actually, truly, diligently follow world news? Unless there is a major scam or err, the Olympics, do we really care about how China, or USA are faring? No. Not until our money is involved in the economic meltdown that happened a few years ago. No. Not until our children were working in their nations and got laid-off.
So, no. It is not fair to compare the ‘freedom’ in our nation to that in theirs. A parent shouldn’t compare two siblings because however similar they are genetically, they are each different. Similarly, every country has its history and its unique set of issues and problems.
The American constitution was written in the year 1787 and they have the advantage of more than a century (i suck at math) to themselves!
So quit comparing ‘how fast the internet is’ in the two countries to judge how free WE are.
The political issues there are not even close to the number of issues we have, point noted. The number of political parties which actively participate are TWO. Just two. The number of people in the House are lesser. Whereas, in India, there are this many parties. I could not fit all the parties in ONE screenshot, so you can do the math without me having to actually go through the mammoth task of counting them out for you. I also agree, that this volume is no excuse to be corrupt. Of course it isn’t. Nothing can be an excuse to be corrupt and gobble the money paid by the citizens as taxes. But it also doesn’t state that we are un-free. We are! If this isn’t freedom then what is? If you have a cause, make your party and stand for it, contest elections, win and then, change the nation.
As for the corruption that everyone is SO constipated about. Don’t blame freedom for corruption. If people are dishonest and have questionable morals then what role does freedom has to play in it? It is our sad luck that we are taught the art of bribing. I see many of my friends bribe police officials to get out of traffic hassles and then I see the same friends write status updates on Facebook regarding the Anna hazare issue and voicing how strongly they feel about (or against) corruption. The change has to come from within. You cannot keep asking the same and incorrect questions year after year. Ask if this nation is honest, and there will be an answer in the negative, because ‘honestly’, no one is honest. Not in india and not abroad.
So if your quest is to live in a world free of dishonesty, cheating and liars then you my friend, desire a utopic world, cuz let’s be sensible and understand that this world is not going to happen. WHY? Because there is always a person who will cheat and lie and that ruins the entire cycle of honesty.
And then, let me come to the whole ‘rape’ ‘murder’ and crime point of freedom. According to statistics, 1 in 200 women in the United Kingdom have been raped at some point in their life. Remember, the population in India is far higher than out there, so the number WILL be higher. What is wrong in this country is the Justice system, which is slow. There, because of whatever reasons (efficient jurisdiction and laws?!) the processing seems to be quicker. I’ll need my lawyer friends to guide me through this, so I shall refrain from commenting on this further.
Now I stressed on the word ‘seem’ because I don’t know how fast or quick it really is. It is quicker than ours, especially if we take Kasab’s example! Again, women are allowed to wear what they want and wander on the streets when they want. What we need ‘freedom’ from is the constant fear of being raped. The solution to this problem is NOT running away to a foreign country and pretend like we have gotten away from everything that was possibly ‘wrong’. Men are there everywhere and so is crime. Face it. The chances may reduce but never diminish to an absolute zero. Click here to see how many women feel something similar to, or are actually raped every year in different countries. What needs to change is HOW we think. What needs to change is actually, a lot. But why question freedom?
I recently read an article about how a Hindu family was split in two fractions because their house was exactly at the Indo-Bangladesh border. And no, they were not allowed to stay together in the same nation. Most of the family which was in the West-Bengal region of the house slowly joined into the state. After 65 years, when the grandson went to visit his ‘siblings across the border’, he was astonished to find that they had all converted to Islam as they found it increasingly difficult to live in Bangladesh as hindus. Aside from Shiv Sena’s example in Maharashtra (which was highly criticised as it is), I haven’t heard of any such personal event of forced change of religion. If anything, the minority is placed at a pedestal in India, with all the reservations they get. I don’t wish to get into any of the debate encircling this topic, but hey they’re free here aren’t they?
[On a side note: As far as education abroad goes, yes the universities in certain countries feature in the world’s best whereas ours don’t even feature in the top 200. Agreed. But tell someone from Harvard that you’re from a university in India and they will look at you with an admiration that will make you glow. Trust me, because I have felt it myself.]
I have only touched upon some very basic and fundamental topics here. My aim was merely to tell all my extremely educated friends that questioning isn’t the way out of everything. I know, that joining the politics isn’t possible for everyone (it is not for me) and neither is changing the country possible single-handedly. Yes, maybe the roads abroad are cleaner, but by abroad do you mean just the USA and UK or do you also count Ethiopia as abroad? It is narrow, the way we think. India may not be as good as ‘them’ but we aren’t half as bad either. Give this lady a chance before you run off to a foreign nation on your folks’ money and earn in dollars. She will surprise you. Also, I request you to change your parameters of judgement. Don’t compare freedom by the success that we’ve achieved. Freedom is different. Freedom is when you’re allowed to be who you are and feel what you feel and say what you want to.
What everyone is asking for (non-spittable roads, non-urinated sidewalks, clean government and you-know-the-drift) requires a dictatorship and then, we’ll see how many want the ‘freedom’ back. Aha.
The biggest test of freedom is in the freedom to criticise
So is India free? Yes.
Are we free? Yes.
Don’t stop questioning. Just change your questions and strive for what YOU can do.
-love, stay tangled.
Happy Independence Day!