Saturday, August 16, 2014

Are you truly free?

India celebrated its Independence Day yesterday. It's the day British gave the reign of India into Indian hands. Indians got their freedom. We became our own rulers. We opted for a democratic form of government on the principles of secularism and equality. 

Over the last 67 years we have come a long way. I am not going to list our accomplishments as there are too many to state and am sure you know about all of them. However even I am not naive or patriotic enough to deny that there are too many grave issues that still plague this so called great nation of hours. Infrastructure, cleanliness and women's safety are paramount in my opinion. As these form the basis of any civilized society. 

But there is no denying that Indians are free today. We are free to:

- Follow the religion of our choice, at our place of worship, with our community, celebrating our festivals
- To speak our minds without having to register at a speakers corner
- To travel to most parts of the country without the threat of being in midst of a civil war
- To have access to technology and uncensored information that enables us to learn and grow
- To be entrepreneurial and pursue a vocation of our choice whether it's a bar dancer or a doctor
- To think big. To aspire. To dream. And have tremendous opportunities to make it all come true

It's the freedom such as above that we take for granted as we have always had it. Freedom is one of the values that is recognized only when it's taken away from you. 

Question is what are YOU doing with this freedom? 

- Are you using it put others down in the name of religion?
- Or to constantly complain about issues and 'participate' in TV debates without actually taking simple steps towards change?
- Or to separate ourselves from each other on the basis of our language and state?
- May be utilizing technology to becoming more selfish  and self glorifying? 
- Are you really capitalizing on this freedom when you are chained to a desk for a job you despise?
- Are you merely at the beck and call of every materialistic acquisition which you feel will make your life fuller?

Our forefathers fought and died to give us a free nation. Yet today we are trapped in the world of our own making. A world where connections are more important than connecting. Where we have jobs but no passion. Passion but no love. Love but only on our terms. We have big houses and smaller hearts. Gourmet meals but low appetites. Exotic travels but no discovery. Penthouses with panoramic views but a tunneled vision. Lesser kids and even lesser time for them. We are surrounded by treasured objected but disposable people. We exist, but do we really live? 

As India struggles with its innumerable problems at multiple levels, you can do one of two things. Get involved and make a difference to our country's future. Or simply change yourself for the better. The freedom that you believe you have complete entitlement over, put it to some good use. Improve yourself by looking beyond your restrictive view of yourself and your immediate family. Take small steps towards your own growth. If we all do the same India will be taken care of by itself.

As Mahatma Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see in the world".

Jai Hind! 

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