Independence in the new year…

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“Into that heaven of freedom my father, let my country awake…”

With this thought, Rabindranath Tagore dreamt of an ‘awakened’ country, a nation ‘free’ not only from the vigorous clutches of foreign forces but also from the staunch grips of enervated superstition. One was depleting the country’s wealth and the other enfeebled its health.

47 years after his dream, the nation was ‘free’, a democracy formed. And another 66 years later, the nation is ‘don’t know where it is going…’

The foreign forces are gone, that undying relentless spirit of freedom fighters are gone, some of the age old beliefs corroding our society have been abolished, new hopes have come, new prosperity, technology, innovation has curved a new future but ‘that heaven of freedom’ still seems far ahead, everyday moving beyond our reaches.

Yes, ‘the mind is without fear and the head is held high’ – not of the man fighting for justice against crime but for the goon who is fearless to get away with any crime;

Yes, ‘knowledge is free’ – not for the meritorious talent but for the man shelling out bundles of notes in the name of donation or where every child does not have the privilege of free education or the concept of RTI is at threat; 

Yes, ‘the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls’ but day by day people are demanding newer fragments where diversity is no longer united rather threatened by narrower mind sets; 

Yes, ‘words come out from the depth of truth’, but today truth can be easily twisted, turned and thrown into the dungeons of falsehood or when stalwarts of nation blatantly suffocate truth into a natural death;

Yes, ‘tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection’, but not for a soldier dying at the border protecting the nation who is mocked by callous, immature minds sitting thousands of miles away in safety but for those who are striving towards destroying the society, weakening its root with superstition;

Yes, ‘the clear stream of reason has not lost its way’ – today we reason whether Rs. 27 is enough for a poor man to survive in the country or if poverty is a ‘state of mind’ but not whether we can come together make this nation stronger against forces attacking our security so often;

Yes, ‘the mind is led forward by thought and action’ – not for a woman who died after a heinous act of crime but the masters of justice are still nurturing the criminals, their minds are clouded to be able to act on the path of justice but for those sick souls who feels they are free to violate the pride of a woman anytime; where the nation’s authority hardly ‘speaks’ of action and where a candle of true thought of change is blown out immediately 

Yes, we are in ‘that heaven of freedom’ where corruption is free, crime is abundant, criminals are powerful, protectors are deaf, authorities are dumb, law and order is malleable, basic needs of life is a distant dream for the poor, honor is raped, justice is compromised, national security is violated and the nation is collapsing.

Yes, we are ‘awakened’ but still in the staggering slumbers of insecurity and hopelessness in the country; our eyes are wide open but our minds are damn shut.

Though I am frustrated and insipid, complaining about the current situation and also the fact that I as an individual are not able to do much to change things, still I go to sleep with is a hope and wake with a dream. I am free and being a citizen of a free country wish to rise into a heaven of freedom along with others with an awakened mind and soul.

Despite all odds, we still come together to celebrate the festival of color and lights, we still stand united to salute our patriots, we still raise to our feet to honor our national flag, we still applaud our team in a cricket match or rejoice our stimulated sentiments in an action or romantic sequence of a movie, we still bow our heads to our elders, we still feel proud to win a gold medal at the Olympics, we still hold on to the age old cultural heritage and say aloud Mera Bharat Mahan. 

No nation is completely free from the shackles of evil traits and so is ours. So we need to struggle once again to attain that freedom of life, this time against few unscrupulous internal forces and the martyrs now look upon us for this daunting task.

This time the fight for independence is for yourself: for a woman the fight for pride and honor; for a poor the fight for equality, for a victim a fight for justice, for a government a fight for prosperity and against corruption, for a protector a fight for strength and for a common man, like us, a fight for freedom of thought, well being and a better future, if not for us at least for our children. If every soul in the nation fights for a free spirit, we can truly build a free nation day by day.

This Independence day, ask yourself, are we really free? If not, start with the freedom of your thought and how many others you can instill with a free thought. If you have an idea of freedom, however small it may be, start acting and you will soon find that you are not the only one. Your freedom will make you a proud citizen of a free nation. Don’t let your freedom be washed away in the tides of time.

My small idea of freedom was to teach my maid’s 10 year old son in leisure time and impart the freedom of education. WHAT IS YOURS?

Next Independence Day, I want to proudly say, into that heaven of freedom my father, I see my country awake.

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