OPINION | Enchained by narrow-mindedness, are we really free?


Opinion | August 15, 2019:

By Preetty Chambugong Marak

On 73rd Independence Day, is our mind without fear and can we hold our head high? NO!

Social media is flooded with this quote by Rabindra Nath Tagore on the ocassion of 73rd Independence Day of India: "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 narrow domestic walls, Where words come out from the depth of truth"

It is such an irony that while social media continues with its hypocrisy of propagating Tagore's quote on August 15th, the rest of the days, it is busy showcasing instances of mob lynching , curb on freedom of speech and expression, imposing one's opinion on another and even shaming women while upholding the spirit of patriotism for their Motherland. This is a facade I say, a pretense to cover up for our incompetent patriotism that comes to the fore only one day and the rest of the year, it's in hibernation. And why do I say so? Here is/are the reasons :

Independence Day, August 15, 1947, is when India received freedom from the British rule, a day where one could relax, breath and proudly say "finally we are no longer slaves". But did we really EARN this freedom in the real sense of the term?

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It will not be wrong if I say that it would not have been possible if our freedom fighters would not have raised their voice, if they would not have fought for the rights of the people, it would not have been possible if streams of their blood would not have washed away the British dominance conquering the country.

In Meghalaya, a day before I-day, a lot of people were seen buying tricolor flags, flaunting it on their vehicles, residence and offices. It is indeed a proud day for all of us- Indians.

But even though the spirit is alive, have we achieved freedom in real sense? My answer would be No! Where so many brave hearts died for the peace and prosperity of the country, where they were tortured, severed and injured for the country, where they died chanting "they may kill me, but they cannot kill my ideas. They can crush my body, but they will not be able to crush my spirit". It would not be appropriate to call ourselves 'patriotic' or free because our mindset is still bound by the evilness which we suffered during British rule.

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How can you call yourself free where just a day before I-day, a mother, a daughter is being raped and there are no strict laws for the culprits, how can you call yourself free when article 370 has been revoked in J&K but the state is still reeling under the impact of militancy and people still live in fear, how can you call yourself free where the future of our youth is at stake due to unemployment, drug addiction, child marriage. How can you call yourself free where I-day is merely a day where you get a holiday, how can you call yourself free where you have already filled your pockets with alcohol a day before I-day since it's a dry day, how can you call yourself free where the security officials' vehicles are seen parked near a wine shop, how can you call yourself a true Indian when you can't follow secularism- where people are lynched in the name of religion, where people following a certain faith' are killed & burned, where fellow countrymen are executed in the name of caste. How proudly can you say that you are free?

We all are free indeed but our actions should speak for ourself, freedom will be achieved only when we do something good for ourself and our country as well instead of public shaming someone in social media, freedom will be achieved when we will stand as one for the right instead of thrashing and moral policing, freedom will be achieved if we start saving the environment rather than throwing trash in the river, freedom will be achieved when we will treat each other as Indians not on the basis of caste, creed and religion; Freedom will be achieved when we come forward and choose the right leaders who won't dictate but act as caretakers of our nation.

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Are we 'really' the true citizens of our country? Can we proudly say that India is the only Country where crime rate is less and development is more? Aren't we supposed to be proud, aren't we supposed to cherish this day where blood was shed so as to ensure that you reside in a state where you can be free and enjoy your rights? Why are we still enchained? Why can't this mindset be changed? Why are we still entwined with such thoughts and selfishness? What If those brave leaders would have thought just for themselves?

This year, let's make a change, let's be a true Indian- "Lets Stand together, Fight for our nation as one"

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