This is the most common question raised by many, every Independence Day in India. People wonder about it due to many reasons. Some think why we should feel happy being Independent if we are still being ruled by politicians who are chosen by the votes of a very small section of people, some think why we should feel Independent if we are made to follow archaic laws which are hardly made through our consent in the first place, some feel why should we really feel Independent if we have to abide by society’s culture and norms, many of which could be most stupid and nonsensical. And there are many more- poverty, scams, corruption, reservation, LGBT rights, transparency, accountability, to name just a few. So are we really Independent?
This is really a tricky, mind-boggling question. The answer to which depends on the way we interpret the term “Independence”. Do we take “independence” as simply independence from Britishers? If yes, then surly we have become independent from British rule. In fact that’s the reason “Independence day” is commemorated for – to mark the day we got independence from Britishers, and to remember the martyrdom of our courageous freedom fighters.
But then, we are forced to think, after we got independence from Britishers, did we really get self-dependence? How good getting independence from Britishers have been to us? Have we got self ruling? Or are we still being ruled by, against our wishes?
The question gets even more complex when we start thinking about more deeper meaning of independence.
Have we really been living in a free, independent nation, where we get to do what we wish, and be what we want? Or do we get bogged down by norms and expectations of society? Does every single citizen of India feel fully enabled to achieve his or her dreams? Or do some sections of people feel completely helpless and dependent on other privileged lot, for fulfillment of even their basic needs? The question looms back to haunt you every time you see child beggars on streets, poor farmers toiling in scorching heat on someone else land, and talented but poor people not being able to achieve their dreams due to poverty. All these instances make us think – Are we really dependent? Have we really independent?
On top of that, certain sections in society are ostracized and have hardly any rights as general people. Transgenders people to name one. Moreover, in the name of morality and following archaic laws, Gay and lesbian people are considered violating law.
Somewhere, that does make it look like we have a lot to go till we achieve real independence. But then, is it really such an achievable thing ? Is there any country in the world which is prospering and can claim to have true independence?
True independence will be achieved when we achieve freedom of minds, and when our entire society become open to everyone’s freedom. Overall change in mindset of entire society is very much needed. Several times, brilliant minds have been killed by society’s mindset and restrictions. So independence in true sense can be achieved only with a great reform in society’s mindset. And can that be achieved in absolute terms and by a given time-frame? I think not. Reform is an ever-growing process. People and society will have to keep reforming themselves. And achieving absolute freedom never seems an achievable target. That’s primary because good and bad are always going to co-exist in society. So expecting a perfect, fairy tale society, where nothing will go wrong, and everything will happen to satisfaction, really does seem to much to expect. But yes, we can still go a long way, and achieve much more degree of independence, than we have right now. Hope we do so!!