ON the night of our 61st year of independence,i sit in an enclosed room with the screen inches away from my face and wonder what is the hype all about.It is just another year.Well,at least for me.I am one of those guys who attended independence day anniversaries in school only b'coz of the chocolates.The best part was the teachers always thought that i was a fair kid and would distribute the things correctly,when i always ended up pocketing some of the packets.I never valued ideals much.For me the thought of people shedding their lives for their children to survive was a silly thought.Now,as i think back upon those years of innocence and carefree courage,i am thankful somebody did that.
I wasn't born anywhere near the troublesome days of India's history.Life has been very easy for me.I have never known hunger,strife or fear.My parents have struggled to keep my thankless soul well-fed,without letting me know what they were going through.So the idea of a freedom bought at the price of struggle is unknown to me.Freedom means a different thing to every person.To Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi it meant a non-british government.To Bhagat Singh it meant a secular socialist state.To you it might mean a Harley Davidson,tank filled and 25000 $ in cash.To someone else it might mean life,to me it might mean death.Though we all speak of it in a different manner,one thing is sure.We all need it.We love it like we love to live.
Freedom is a necessary essential a human being requires to be human.We were lucky enough to be born with it.Some still have to work it out,in order to achieve it.Men have shed blood ,lost lives ,fought their brothers to achieve it.All of us want it.But what do we do when we get it?The westerners often thought that a nation like ours,with its varied geographical,cultural,linguistic diversity would fall as soon as they leave us.And yeah,we didn't get freedom free.It was like those contracts with the greatest details hidden in a miniscule "Conditions Applied" in the end.We had riots,arson,poverty,famine.The british would have patted themselves for leaving this god forsaken country.But like the stubborn weed,that refuses to die after being denied nutrition we survived.We were lucky we had intelligent people at the helm,who refused to give up.Who were careful enough to put every single possible law into writing.Nehru was respected,Gandhi worshipped but there were a lot more unsung heroes who worked tirelessly to script the survival of this country post independence.As our nation now realises maturity in world politics,those people would smile from dusted shelves at their success.
Sure we have had riots.We have no dynamic infrastructure change since '47.We have lacked in developing literacy,reach to our most interior parts.But we have succeeded in protecting the most important gift that was given to us - FREEDOM.What is freedom?I searched for this answer for a long time today.I,like or unlike the most of you,have had a very comfortable childhood.I knoww not hunger,poverty or even pain.So how would i know what the value of freedom is?I learnt it in the most unconventional manner.
I met my friend at the railway station.I took his newspaper,opened it and found that the shiv sena had thrashed another weekly.I scoffed at the irony of the act being committed on the occassion of independence.He swore that these( i won't use the right words,i like my life too dearly)were people who interpreted independence the wrong way.Then it struck me.Freedom is not free-dom.It is liberty to do what you love.It does not necessarily mean that you can go and thrash any stupid nincompoop that you hate,but it allows you an opinion.NO matter who you are,what your sin is;regardless of caste,creed,gender and status your opinion is valued.That is freedom.To be able to express without fear,hesitation,or even remorse.To be respected as a human,valued as one and treated as one,for me that is freedom.
People have stayed on in this country not because we are the best place in the world with the cheapest cost of living,but because we have given them that power of freedom.The power to be right and the liberty to be wrong.And we will never give up this power for any other thing.And that is how our nation was formed.To put it in the words of a famous poet
" To be sowed,cared for,and shaped,
Generation after generation,until
It stays in our hands,in our eyes
And it is us and ours. "