As India celebrates 77th Independence day, we can proudly cherish 76 years of our hard earned freedom. India as a country has come a long way over the years and has made significant impact across the globe in various fields. Our achievements as a nation are commendable especially taking into account how we as a vast nation with immense diversity have stood strong together irrespective of various dividing factors around us. From north to south, from east to west, India has a beautiful blend of so many differences and is still united as a nation. But then again, unfortunately over the last few years we are seeing rising incidents of hate crimes across the nation. This makes us to think and contemplate on a very basic question – Have we earned complete freedom?
Even when we have completed 76 years of being a free nation, if we look around us and observe carefully are we really free? Or in other words can each and every citizen of our nation irrespective of their language, state, religion, caste or gender say that “yes, I feel free in this nation” ? Well, if we remove our biased viewpoints and try to answer this question, the so-called “complete freedom” still exists only with the ones that hold power and wealth. The nation where any citizen is discriminated against and publicly harassed while the government, media and lawmakers are mere spectators, is far from being called a “free nation” that has earned “Complete Freedom”.
Over time when oppression due to many factors like caste, religion, or gender keep happening, the oppressed wouldn’t remain silent anymore. “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself” – an excerpt from “Letter from a Birmingham Jail“. Over time people have started realizing that if you don’t speak up for yourself or even for your fellow countrymen now, the day won’t be far away when we will have democracy and liberation just for namesake. The current generation in our country needs to be commended in this regard as they are trying to discern between justice and injustice. They are aware of what is happening across the globe and they know their history. This is when the right use of social media and non violent means of protests play a very important role in the fight for liberation and the right to lead a life of complete and true freedom.
The role of news outlets and media is very crucial in bringing out the truth to the public. This year India has further slipped to ranking 161 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index. People who don’t take initiatives from their own end to ascertain the ‘truth’, mostly ending up believing lies fed to them. While we discuss all this, the question still remains the same, “How free are we?”.
As Abraham Lincoln rightly said, “Nation cannot survive half slave and half free”. The right to liberation is for each and every citizen of this country. Everyone has the right to embrace a life of complete freedom where one can live and express freely without fear of being targeted. The rights are never meant just for the rich and powerful. A nation can be called truly liberated when its citizens in every nook and corner of the land feel safe and free. On this independence day, can we all decide to stand up for the preservation of justice and freedom for everyone alike? Can we decide to become extremists of love and shun all hatred campaigns?
Happy Independence Day!