Freedom is not something that comes for free, one has to fight for it

If we turn into a relaxed zone, feeling thinking that it is our innate right, then we are far from understanding the philosophy of 'freedom'. Every citizen of India must commit to keeping it intact.

By Shonit Nayan

What is the true meaning of ‘freedom’? Perhaps a person suffering the brunt of exile, a soldier standing on the border or he/she who has lost thirty six springs of his/her life in imprisonment can know better.

The air we breathe in a free country and safe borders are fundamental to this ‘freedom’. But, if we turn into a relaxed zone, feeling thinking that it is our innate right, then we are far from understanding the philosophy of ‘freedom’. Freedom is not something that comes for free. For this one has to fight. Every citizen of India must commit to keeping it intact.

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War memorial New Delhi (Image source: Amit Paranjape)

As, we all are celebrating glorious 75 years of our Independence (Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav) from colonial rule and entering into the 76th year of independence, we all have a common as well as individual responsibility that while we ceebrate our freedom as Amrit (nectar), we as a nation also have to combat the Vish (poison) persistent in our country in various forms of irregularities, corruption and others maladies. These poisons are pushing us away from our fundamental duties which is not only an integral part of freedom but also a true companion of fundamental rights.

There is a lot that has to be done and we as Indians have to be constantly aware of both our fundamental rights and our duties. Only then, we will be able to understand the real meaning of freedom.

Image source: CANVA

This glorious ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ is an opportunity for all of us to understand the real meanings of freedom. Real Freedom for a citizen means that s(he) has the right to sovereignty, s(he) can freely express his/her views, experience respect and s(he) has due participation in the system. And, who can better understand this than the citizens of the largest democracy in the world, which has very recently elected its maiden lady tribal (Santhal Tribe) President.

New Delhi Central Vista (Image source: Kiraan Kumar Twitter)

A person, who is in captivity, cannot be free in mind. Therefore, s(he) cannot enjoy the pleasant music of a group of birds singing at sunset or the beauty of the beautiful moon rising in the sky, as a free person can. For a prisoner, being out of jail means ‘freedom’. But freedom is certainly a broader concept from a social perspective. Any society can give absolute freedom to its entire people only in relative form. This is because if everyone in society does whatever they want to do, even if it is wrong, there will be anarchy. That is, there are some rules and regulations to exercising freedom as well. Enjoying our freedom also does not mean that we ignore the rights of others.

Today’s new civilization is bringing with it new family relationships, a new way of working, a
new way of life, a new scientific system, a new political struggle and above all a new changed consciousness, which is allowing people to share their thoughts and providing power to bring positive change.

Image source: CANVA

In the new era, many types of challenges are now emerging, which are constantly being dealt by the government. Digital India is giving our country new technical edge on domestic and international front, Smart Cities Mission is turning our engines of growth i.e. cities into sustainable smart habitation hubs, several flagship schemes brought by Union and State governments are contributing to economic and social upliftment of citizens, these all are new dimensions of freedom for an Indian citizen.

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A series of inclusive schemes targeting women, who comprise half the population, and marginalized communities, have also inculcated a new meaning of azadi (freedom) among them, which not only makes them dream bigger, but also, is enabling them to turn those dreams into real actions.

Image source: CANVA

Nevertheless, today’s India needs to work fast to get rid of corruption, poverty, pollution,
malnutrition etc. Economic freedom is important for long-term progress, paving the way for people to break free from poverty. Also, extensive use of technology has given rise to the so called virtual world or cyber world and apart from ‘citizen’ a new word ‘netizens’ has also become popular. This has further given rise to the concept of virtual freedom/social media freedom, which is undoubtedly like a do dhaari talwar (double edged sword).

On the completion of seventy-five years of independence, it would be appropriate to
examine the themes, personalities and ideas related to India’s independence from a different
angle and not take for granted the freedom that we have as the citizens of the world’s largest democracy.

Jai Hind ! Jai Bharat !

Contributing Author: Shonit Nayan is presently a Smart Cities Fellow-India Smart Cities Fellowship Program, NIUA-MOHUA, Government of India.

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