The nation celebrates its Independence day this August.
"Independence from what? " is a question that often haunts my mind.
We are not free yet. We are bound by our own shackles, we have wrung our own voices, we choose to be prisoners to ourselves.
How can we declare to be independent?
Corruption is not limited to the ministers and MPs, we are all in our own ways corrupted, everytime we throw that dirt onto the road, everytime, we spit on the road, everytime we jump a signal and pass on that Rs50/note instead of paying a Rs100/- fine, we are corrupted, body, mind and soul.
Everytime we remain diffidently indifferent to the poor among us, everytime we refuse a rupee to the beggar, but spend thousands in a fast food resturant run by a foriegn company, everytime we wrinkle our noses in disgust at the slum dwellers - we remain bound - by economic shackles
Everytime a girl child is killed, everytime a woman is jeered at, everytime a hapless lady is raped, everytime one's caste is mocked at, everytime a pressure of "reservations" is brought about - we are bound - by caste and social shackles
Everytime we say "the XYZ country is a better place to live in", everytime we prefer an expensive MNC brand to a lesser known desi brand, everytime we fake an accent, everytime we show off "imported" stuff, everytime we tell our kids to aim for a seat in a foriegn university - we are bound, by the lure of the very people we decided to oust 60 years ago.
Everytime we say "adjust", everytime we adjust though the conscience screams out otherwise, everytime we evade taxes, everytime we encourage laziness, everytime we encourage incompetence under the shroud of "more employment" in the public sector, everytime we shirk from voting under the pretext that "yaar, all these people are the same - all thieves" - we are bound by our incompetence.
Where is Freedom? What is freedom?
Freedom is not the right to behave the way we want, freedom is the duty to behave ourselves.
Freedom does not mean the right to complain, freedom means the duty to roll up our sleeves and work at improving the very things we complain about
Freedom does not mean waving a plastic flag on the 15th and throwing it out with the garbage on 16th, it means having a sense of patritotism every single living moment of our lives.
Freedom does not mean remixed versions of the National Anthem, it means the collective voice of the intelligent and dutiful middle class who will stand up and say "we are the nation" and decide our future for ourselves
Freedom does not mean yet another holiday, it means you wake up and work harder that day- for by hardwork alone shall the country prosper
Freedom does not mean yelling for a bunch of 11 fools to win a match, it means working in the nearby slums and yelling for a bunch of 110 brilliant kids to go on and write their destinies.
nEnu saitam prapanch aagniki samidhanokkaTi aahuticchaanu
nEnu saitam viSva vrushTiki aSRuvokkaTi dhaaravOsaanu
nEnu saitam bhuvana GhOshaku verri gontuka picchi mosaanuu
( A telugu poem that literally translates thus
I too have contributed a log of wood to the world's fire
I too have contributed a tear drop for the world's rains
I too have shouted myself hoarse for the universe to hear the world
In the spirit goes thus
I have sacrificed my body, mind and soul for the betterment of the world
It is I who shall do it - for by me shall the change emerge)
Happy Independence Day to all.
(its a belated post - I know. I meant it to be belated.)