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 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
~ Rabindranath Tagore
Today, India celebrates its 66 years of Independence. The rise of India as an emerging global power is certainly an inspiring story for all of us. We will have the tricolor flying all over and people greeting each other ; the goose bumps and the blood rush while hearing “Jana Gana Mana” and “Vande Mataram”. It is an amazing feeling for all Indians; whether they live on Indian soil or foreign soil.
Yes, we have gained independence but are we really free. Has freedom touched our society or only few are free to oppress others? Are women free, are children safe in a free country, or their bodies are still a playground of exhibiting masculinity. Have we acquired a new master called consumerism? For few extra bucks to buy a designer wear or cigarettes some young men and women are willing to sell their future. Is this the modern India that Swami Vivekananda envisioned? The answer we all know and is NO.
Is freedom an absolute, or a relative, condition? Does freedom truly exist, or is it simply an ideological concept humans created to consolidate the restricted nature of our lives? As George Orwell puts it, “”To see what is in front of one’s own nose needs a constant struggle.”
We are an independent country, but we should not confuse independence with freedom. What an irony: the country is independent, but the society, we live in, is still not free. Freedom, like success, is a journey; an on-going process. Freedom is a state of mind, ignite it and let the flames burn the evils that have strangulated our society for long.