60 years…

By | August 15, 2007
Its been 60 years today….of being a free country. On the 50th anniversary of Indian Independence, I heard a statement from an old man. He said, “Your generation does not understand the meaning of freedom, because you were born in a free country.” Just having entered into my teenage then, I simply ignored the statement, thinking of it to be another rant from an old man. Today, ten years from that day, the importance of this statement is crystal clear to me.

Consider the simplest of analogies. We all take breathing air in and out of our bodies for granted. But what would happen if we spent a few days with the air supply strictly rationed. If every breath of air that we take with so much of ease right now was not so easy to take. That is when we would realize its value, its true value.

Freedom is pretty much the same. We do not know what slavery and oppression is like. We have never seen it in our life, only heard about it, or read about it. We do not know, and maybe we will never know what it is like being ruled by another country, having no say in the working of our own country. Without a right to protest, without a right to even raise our voice, maybe even without a right to write blogs freely.

What if we there were censors restricting our right to speak, write and see?

Of course, it will be a nightmare. And this nightmare will make us realize the value of freedom, the true meaning of being an independent nation that we are now. Maybe then, we will start to take our freedom seriously. And do more than just change our “Orkut” profile pictures to the national flag, to wear saffron, white and green, or to send e-mails and SMSs shouting out “Happy Independence Day”.

Maybe we will take a good look at our country, and realize that there are people who are still slaves. Slaves to poverty, slaves to bureaucracy, slaves to illiteracy, slaves to oppression from people with “power”.

Remember, our freedom fighters were not selfish. They knew that the freedom they are fighting to achieve will be for the future generations. Remember Bhagat Singh, who gave his life to free the country, but never saw what being free was like. There were thousands like him, unnamed, but who gave their lives for the freedom that we enjoy from the comfort of our air conditioned homes.

Let us free those still under oppression, who are slaves to the system that we live in. Let us do our little bit in making lives of others better.Let us free others from whatever holds them to slavery. Only then will we have lived a free life, only then we will know what freedom means.

Only then, we will be free.

Vande Mataram – I salute you, o motherland.
My ancestors freed you from British Rule,
and though you are free today, many of your sons and daughters are still slaves.
Slaves to ignorance, slaves to poverty,
slaves to the system, slaves to those in power…
Give me the strength to free those under oppression,
and do my bit to see them set free.
Only then, o mother, will you be truly free.
Vande Mataram…..

Embedded below is the best ever tribute paid to the countless soldiers who have lost their lives to protect our freedom, in the timeless voice of Lata Mangeshkar. Listen to it. I am sure if I wasn’t able to stir your thoughts, then this will. Jai Hind.

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