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My India, my independence

Trying to define independence is like trying to define breathing. It is always there. It is a state of being. Most importantly, its value is understood only when it is taken away from us. It is waking up every morning knowing that choices and decisions can be made only by you and nobody else. Our country has always set a wonderful example of being democratic. But if there’s something that I would like to be free from, it has to be from the regionalism and the stereotype that exists in every part of the country. Diversity has become our weakness rather than our strength. I want to be free from being asked what caste and community I belong to. I am a proud Indian and that should be enough for any fellow Indian.

Chanda P.Lalwani, Engineering student

Freedom means different things to me. As a girl it meant being able to follow my dreams. As a teenager, it meant being able to wear my kind of clothes, listen to my kind of music, read my kind of books and speak my kind of language. As an adult it means being able to live life by my own standards without having to bother about societal hang-ups. As a woman, it means being able to walk on the road at any time without fear. As a citizen it means being able to exercise the rights given to me by the Constitution. And most importantly, as an individual, it means living in a society where I don’t have to pretend.

If on this Independence Day there is one thing I want to be free from – it is pretence. “Live and let live” are words I have oft heard but seldom seen practised. Most people only pretend to practise what they preach. Stop talking about it, start living it.

Mrinalini Mukherjee, Freelance storyteller

To tell you what freedom means to me, I will have to tell you the story of my life – Amma decides what I wear, Appa decides what I study, grandma decides what I eat, MTV decides what music I listen to, government decides what history I read, the censor board decides what movies I watch, and society decides whether I am a good human being or not. Quite honestly, I am tired of having to listen to people telling me how to lead my life. India got its independence 64 years ago. As for me, I am still waiting.

The one thing that I want to be free from is unwanted advice. I want grand-uncles and third cousins to stop telling me what I should do. I want to be able to hear my own voice among the million others that are trying to drown it out.

Shankar Krishnan, Student

What I want to be free from is the tolerance that we as a nation have towards things that should have rightfully shocked us and moved us to act. I want to break free from that tolerance, the inertia, the face of the Indian politician as we know him today and the lack of choices. Independent India should accept and embrace its Indianness (the tastes, sights and sounds). We should not accept ‘corrupt’ as a word to describe a politician. ‘Corrupt’ is not to be confused with ‘Indianness’!

Devi Nachiappan, Student of Economics

Independence to me is independence of thought and action. Somewhere in my head I believe that this independence is something I am born with. However over the years this has been suppressed to a point where I can’t seem to hear my own thoughts, let alone turn them to actions. I would want independence from that suppression and from prejudice. It is an internal battle for independence that I fight every day.

Swati Khare, Biotechnologist

Independence to me means the freedom to exercise the rights that I am assigned, without any underlying conditions. The right to live and pursue a life as I please is a bare minimum, but that doesn’t complete the loop. Independence for me is not just linked to what the state and others let me do. On a personal level, it is my ability to listen only to myself when I make decisions. Being independent inside is as important to me as being able to say and do what I want on the outside. Freedom from false perceptions and freedom from the State. That is true independence for me.

K.Dhiraj, Design Engineer

Freedom to me is freedom from fear. For as long as we fear, even for a fleeting moment, we aren’t free. One of the most prominent fears plaguing our society is that of lack of knowledge.

Being poorly informed, having no access to knowledge resources and means to use knowledge is scary for many. In ancient times aspiring students travelled great distances to gain knowledge from knowledgeable oracles.

Today we have come to a stage where people compete for certificates of knowledge from “renowned” colleges, even if it is by improper means.

Though I don’t know what India’s independence struggle was like, I like to believe that our freedom fighters feared nothing and no one.

Hari Babu, Software Engineer


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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 10:54:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/my-india-my-independence/article2353916.ece

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