“There is more than one kind of freedom," said Aunt Lydia. "Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it.” - The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Yesterday marked the beginning of 73rd Independence Day of India. The absence of an alarm icon on your mobile phone’s notification panel spoke levels of the amount of sleep you were going to get that morning. Sadly, this wasn’t to be, as your deep slumber was interrupted by the sound of patriotic songs that started playing in your society complex at the crack of dawn.
The day progressed there onwards with you going downstairs to attend the flag hoisting ceremony, then sitting down in front of the T.V to watch the tricolour being unfurled on the Red Fort. Your surroundings donned the three colours of saffron, white and green, that everyone pays respects to. The day prompted you to have insightful discussions with your family and friends, the main theme of each one was – freedom. Wasn’t it?
Stay with us as we make you revisit the feelings you felt yesterday. As the flag rose higher along the pole, your heart swelled with patriotism that took you back to your school days. The rush that you felt while reading about India’s struggle for independence came back. Pause, and try to feel the same way once again and you will realise that you can’t feel it with similar enthusiasm today.
What changed? Is this because, it was yesterday, and the entire country was celebrating freedom from the yoke of the ruthless colonisers? Or was it because the legends were being honoured by one and all. We believe that this may be the case because, there is a difference between the freedom you and we want and the freedom we deserve.
In lieu of that, a question begs to be asked – Is it maybe time we began to redefine Azadi or freedom? We certainly do! As we bid adieu to the day of independence, here are 6 things we think, everyone deserves and must seek freedom from.
1. Freedom from the ‘critic’ virus
You will find critics on every crossroad of your town. They are sometimes the part of your group of friends. And surprisingly so, they sometimes can be you. What do they do? They criticise. From pothole ridden roads to the levels of corruption, state of infrastructure, literacy and healthcare in the country. However, what they don’t do is - preserve the amenities that have been put together for their own benefit. It is time the critics donned the ‘reformist’ cap, isn’t it?
2. Freedom from the bandwagon
Heard about the quote – ‘Monkey see, and monkey do’. Agreed that we have all evolved from apes, but the law of evolution states the survival of fittest. We survived because we were the smartest creatures on the planet. But what about empathy, lateral thinking and owning up to our decisions? Actions define us and often we take them without skipping a beat, as everyone does. This time around, why not make actions the norm of the day?
3. Freedom from the rat race
Now this one will amuse you a bit. But, stay with us as we explain. It refers to the marks that look like cheese and force us all into the race of rats. No matter how old you are, you may have fallen prey to this rat race one time or the other. However, while you were focused on getting those marks, you were quickly to forget the knowledge that you acquired in the process. Success can be achieved through marks, but a true difference can only be made with knowledge, wouldn't you agree? If you had to do it all over, would you be a part of the race of rats or the race of knowledge?
4. Freedom from naysaying
Naysaying refers to an act of denial or refusal to do something. This term fits in perfectly when election time rolls around the corner. The reason being, that many of us would rather wash their hands off because they wrongly believe it isn’t really something that concerns them. That is never really the case, when it comes to democracy. Mainly because the Greek term democracy literally means – rule of people. Doesn’t it?
5. Freedom from ‘blowing your trumpet’ syndrome
All of us could say the first few lines of ‘The Pledge’ when prompted. They go like – India is my country, all Indians are....We are all proud to be a part of a substantially young country, population wise. However, do you sometimes experience fleeting moments where you begin to doubt this pride? These come by especially when you see drivers breaking traffic rules, spit marks everywhere but inside the dustbin or litter all over the town. Isn’t it time that we cleaned the trumpet a bit (read our country), before we harp about its glory?
6. Freedom from becoming a prejudiced stereotype
There are four directions, that means that the people living in these directions are bound to be different. When a country that talks about unity in this diversity, the onus lies on its people to ensure that both the concepts are equally uplifted and implemented in life. Liberty, equality and fraternity weren’t supposed to just remain as words in Preamble now, were they? So why is it that we find comfort in prejudice inspired discrimination? Don’t you feel its time we actually respect choices and lifestyles of others the same way we want ours to be respected?
We have left this list open ended because we would like to know more about the freedom that you want because you deserve it.