Freedom to me means

a lot of things actually. For me freedom is not country specific — it is rather animalistic, but then, we live in the real world, where, we like it or not, geographic boundaries are drawn, countries are attacked and plundered, the conqueror exploits the vanquished. Considering this, I’m extremely lucky that I live in a country that is free. I should rephrase to make it more realistic: I live in a country where I have gotten a chance to live an emancipated life. I say this because not everybody is free in the country. Freedom is circumstantial, it is situational, it is not ensured. Our country will be totally free when freedom is ensured, when it is not just the privilege of those who have the ability and might to sustain it. Our country will be free when a roadside labourer enjoys the same level of freedom enjoyed by the person travelling in a BMW, and the person travelling in the BMW has to fear the law of the land as much as the roadside labourer. Our country will be free when freedom is earned, and not bought.

Too idealistic? Maybe. Does such freedom exist anywhere in the world? I haven’t travelled to other countries so I cannot say but I can say one thing for sure, freedom as a concept was hard-won by our freedom fighters. As far as one nation occupying another nation is concerned, we have had the greatest freedom fighters the world has been blessed with (I know other countries have equally great examples of heroism), from Bhagat Singh to Chandrashekhar Azad to Mahatma Gandhi, but when it comes to freeing the country of its internal pillagers, even a fragment of this kind of intrepidity has failed to surface. And not only there are pillagers that plague the country, we ourselves live in a perpetual state of inertia that prevents us from attaining the full potential of the hard-won freedom. We are slaves of a dying system that never dies and our response (or the lack of it you can say) continuously fuels it. The apathy is so inwrought that we don’t even consider our fellow citizens as our fellow citizens. This is a prime example of civilizational rot.

Whatever level of freedom we enjoy at this moment, it’s the collective essence of countless, unrecognized sacrifices made by people of this country and we should value it like anything. As I often say, the world is driven by a handful of people who continuously strive to make this world a better place to live; they keep the torch of hope burning. We are free to keep that torch burning and I think this is the brightest aspect of freedom we currently have.

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