Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action–
Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.
These thought provoking words do not belong to me. I am still not equipped with skills to define something so important to us, i.e. “Freedom” in such a beautiful and possibly the best possible way. The great Indian Poet, short story writer, song composer, novelist, playwright, essayist, painter Rabindranath Tagore wrote these words in one of his book “Gitanjali” in the year 1912. It left me wondering how he could imagine how it feels to live in a free land 35 years prior to India’s independence. I belong to that generation of Indian’s who took their first breath in a free India. May be that’s the reason we do not value the word “Freedom” like our previous generation. May be Freedom has come to us by default; so we have just taken it for granted like most of the other things.
India got its independence on Aug 15, 1947; and now on the occasion of the 68th Independence Day of my country when I look where my country and countrymen stand I wonder are we actually free or all of us are living with the illusion of freedom.
I always left wondering, what actually we are celebrating for. Britishers left our country; was it just enough for us to make our land free. Here I disagree. For me freedom is to eradicate, corruption, sorrows, pain, injustice from our society and to fill our land with peace, prosperity and opportunity; where each one of my countrymen born with the rights to live in peace, to get justice, to nurture his skills and to prosper with time. Till that day does not come I believe we are not free.
Just by shifting the control of power and decision making for future of our nation and our countrymen from few foreigners to few of our own people, how can we be free? Rather it should be few good people irrespective of their skin color, gender or even religion have the real power to “free” rest of us one billion people from every evil act of another that affects each one of us and our society. I hope someday phrases like peace, justice, opportunity, liberty… would define what actually freedom means to each one of us as Indians.
I know I should be saying all this on a day I should be proud of my nationality. But the truth is I do not need any specific day to extract pride from my nationality; being Indian gives me proud for 365 days a year and for 366 days on a leap year. For me days like these, gives us a reason to pause and reflects where our country and society is heading up to and what is in store for future generations who are going to share the same nationality. Do I need to close my eyes and live with the illusion that yes now I am free person living in a free land or do I need to help in a small little way to open eyes of my people who are still happy living in that dream world with their eyes closed? A dream that never came true after 67 years is never going to come true if we are not going to dare to open our eyes and face the reality.
I have no idea when that day would come; when good will win over evil. I am also not sure when I do not have to start my day with news of corruption, rape, murder. I can’t even think even a day when foreigners would not visit our part in search of people who are poor or someone would make a movie “Slumdog Millionaire” that would look real. But hope is a good thing and I can hope the day will come.
Wishing all my countrymen living in India and abroad,… “Happy Independence Day!!”