Really free? Are we?

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 22:03

Supriya Jha

“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance."

It’s been sixty four long years since these golden words floated throughout the free Indian ether when on the midnight of August 14, 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of an independent India made a ‘tryst with destiny’ heralding the freedom from shackles of colonialism, freedom from a foreign hand rule, freedom from tyranny suffered at the hands of the firangi robbers who looted us.

Do you breathe freedom rushing in through the windows of a train, without specks of panic accompanying…. Panicking about many dangerous what ifs?

What if your train is crossing through a Naxal niche and etc...?

What if your sinister train is rushing over a bridge, the credentials of whose strength and durability are just as ‘strong’ as a government shaken by a sea of allegations.

Do you feel free to purchase your dream home without worrying about the intricate (il)legalities involved? Can you get your tiny trots admitted into a fine school or get your gas connections transferred or avail a scholarship for higher studies without getting terrorized by the spectre of red tapism.

The humongous paperwork poses as a tough riddle in the way of your rosy dreams meeting reality, with the red tapes throttling you, whose grip, can then be slackened only by greasing few greedy palms with green notes.

Though its absolutely true, that in any case we are better than we were during British rule. At least we have indigenous despots now and we have the power to choose them as well!

Today we are a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and republic India – with a little bit of corruption adulterated in each of the above salient feature.

We are Sovereign – under pure Indian rule. We are free to travel anywhere within India, without restrictions? Yes? Think again!

You travel all the way to Mumbai only to tolerate the tantrums of a self acclaimed custodian of Marathi maanoos, who keeps on spewing acerbic rants on non-marathis, and vandalising discotheques, pubs, etc in the name of moral policing.

Even West Bengal has in past reverberated with the echoes of non-bengali ko baire koro (oust the non-bengalis).

We also had a Railway Minister who kept chanting Bengal Bengal, and meting out an apparently step mother treatment to the remaining country. Thankfully she has now shifted her cabin to her bastion, swearing to change the face of Bengal.

The regional chauvinism is a threat that keeps on popping its ugly head in the sovereign India.

Moving on to the socialism, we claim to be a nation that has risen above the mofussil metrics of caste, creed, colour or gender. And yet, a movie like Arakshan has managed to stir up a hornet’s nest and fortunately or unfortunately, denied the release approval for two months in UP by the state government, because the movie is suspected to have hit strongly at how the issue of reservation for different castes is being cashed in by the power corridors who see each caste as merely a bundle of ballets.

The vote bank politics is nothing new and there are no immediate prospects of it being old in our democracy.

As far as gender ratio is concerned, we all know what the ugly truth is. Despite the fact that women today, are a step ahead of men in almost every sphere, Indian men are at large, are still battling with their chronic diseased mindsets and failing to accept that anyone from the fairer sex be their boss.

Last season we saw Indian Television trying to topple the common perceptions by televising a show where a lal-dupatta desi girl Priyanka Chopra hosted a masochistic show, staging tough stunts with a bunch of sturdy and robust men kowtowing her. And simultaneously, the action master star Khiladi, Akshay Kumar hosted a culinary show, teaching and supervising a bevy of ladies the cooking skills which are thought to be in women’s domain. But it’s worth pondering if it really changed the way we think?

Secularism boasts of being well preserved in this nation and to a certain extent it might be true. But there are always few mischievous elements trying to harness the religious divide to serve their trifle purposes. The way minorities are often provoked to feel that they are being discriminated against, is fatal for secularism.

Finally, the democracy which rules us is hackneyed with multiple lacunae. With a sea of scams ailing the bureaucracy and government, we all know what freedom means to them and how free the power wielders are to exercise their power.

But the buck can’t stop here. It ultimately comes to you, the individual citizen. Governments can be changed but who will change the way we think.

The stark truth is that we are NOT free. We have been hacked! Our souls have been hacked! And we don’t even realise it because unlike Facebook or Twitter, we don’t log into our souls quite often, may be never!

Day in and day out, we are being dictated by our own greedy selves. Our lives are nothing but a rushing journey through tunnels of ambitions. The dreams pile up and along with them starts the blind rush to pursue what we want. We just follow the way that would lead us to the coveted object, without thinking much about how genuine it is. As Kapil Sibal said to Zeenews in an exclusive interview, “Media should restrain the way it speaks. It’s not free speech. It‘s commercial speech.”

Everything has been commercialised. There is no inner voice left.

It’s high time we freed ourselves from ourselves first! Happy freedom to one and all!



First Published: Friday, August 12, 2011 - 21:31

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