Monday, August 14, 2006

Responsible Independence

Today is one of the biggest days in the history of India. Today is the day that we got our Freedom. But what does it really mean for us? What definition of freedom do we go by? What do we know about our Founding Fathers? What do we feel about the Independence Movement that bore fruit 59 years ago? Why do you love Gandhi? More importantly, why do you hate Gandhi?

For the younger generation, us, the British Raj is only what the books tell us. Some tell us that it's exaggerated and others tell us that it's all true. Some tell us about the "glory days of the British Raj" when everything was in order unlike now. Others speak of the struggle they had to go through during those difficult times. It is naturally very difficult to relate to it; the Freedom Movement.

There is nothing wrong if you cannot relate to the Independence struggle, the various movements that went in parallel signifying equal contributions of many different minds. But inability to take a stand on the correct approach to attain Freedom does not invalidate Freedom itself. So we need to understand Freedom and acknowledge those who fought for it in those days.

We haven't been part of the Freedom Struggle so we don't know what our fathers fought for. Hence, we don't fully understand Freedom. We would like to enjoy the freedom that comes with Freedom, but we do not even wish to understand the responsibilities that come with it. This failure to understand Freedom invalidates any "respect" we may show to our Founding fathers, for we don't really respect the gift that they have given us.

We talk of our freedom to spit on the roads. We talk of our equal rights to education when backward class quotas are introduced. We lambast our government for every concievable thing. The BMC doesn't clean the drains. Why do you litter them? Why do you throw plastic garbage into drains? We are free to do whatever we want, you do your work!

Freedom comes with a price; we have to give others Freedom to do as they wish as well. And Democracy comes with a responsibility. We need to contribute actively to be able to retain our democracy. We, as citizens of an Independent, Democratic nation, are governors of our nation too. That doesn't only mean that we vote our leaders into power. It means that we do some little things right ourselves and actively participate in the nations development, not just our own.

No one expects us all to run for MLA/MP/CM/PM; that would infact be a bit of a disaster. No one expects us to be social workers/activists either. We simply need to do our duties as citizens. We must refrain from throwing garbage, paper, plastic on the roads. We must refrain from spitting all over the roads. We need to empathise with the socially and economically unfortunate, understand if any special provisions are given to them and if possible, contribute. We need to contribute towards making India a superpower and not just expect the leaders we have "worked so hard to elect", to do all the work inspite of us. Let us not simply say that "We pay taxes, now you work". It's like parents giving money to the child and telling her to go do whatever she wants; the child needs love, care and attention too.

Let us salute our Freedom Fighters today by assuming our responsibilities as Indian Citizens.


He whom you once knew said...

Ages ago, when I was a young stripling, I met and forged a bond with another young stripling.

Today, by the merest coincidence, I find myself staring at a (highly channelled) rant by my good old stripling. Only, the force in the lines he writes, and the anguish that I perceive between the lines, makes me realize that he whom I knew once is not the same - by a long, long way. Reminds me that neither of remains anything like the striplings we once were.

I generally envision blogs as an exercise in self-indulgence, but a gut feeling tells me - following this blog is going to be a lot of fun. I read Siddarth Samant's blog an hour back, and found Satanic poetry(sic)...the possibilities with Siddhesh.P seem limitless. I was particularly intrigued by the imagery I encountered in one particular post - about belly-dancing with a laptop on the...what was it? I forget.

Heres to you, old friend. Until you write again,
I remain,

He whom you once knew.

Anonymous said...

well written...