Soaked in the tricolor timelines and immersed in patriotic Whatsapp messages, it’s natural to feel uber patriotic and get the occasional goose bumps listening to the national anthem on India’s 71st Independence Day.

However, if you do not subscribe to lip-service-patriotism and jingoistic nationalism, you might want to define what freedom means to you and what level of freedom this country of ours should have achieved, in the past 70 years.

Define what you believe and define how free you feel, expressing that belief in public domain.

In a truly democratic and free country, expressing your ideas and beliefs should be as easy as breathing air, in and out of your lungs. True freedom is the freedom of expressing your ideas and beliefs without any fear of persecution, offence or hatred. It also means accepting ideas and beliefs you dislike to be expressed without the fear of persecution, offence or hatred.

The idea of independence was a preposterous one from Britain’s point of view, that’s why they suppressed and maimed the voices asking for it, for a long time. Our founding fathers had to fight for the very liberty of that idea to be expressed freely in order to eventually turn it into a reality.

It must have been the same for formerly preposterous ideas of opposing child marriage, sati or caste based discrimination. All these ideas must have sounded bonkers to the ones freely practicing them and gaining benefits out of them.

Everything stems from an Idea, and societies that maim ideas, even preposterous ones, are the real murderers of humanity.

Today, more than ever, we need to launch a barrage of ideas into our public debates and no matter how contradicting, convergent, coarse or comforting they are they should trigger further opposing ideas and we, as a country should feel free to discuss, ponder, accept or reject them without resorting to violence, gagging and suppressing any of them.

You feel eating beef should be criminalized, feel free to express, argue, clarify, deny and debate your idea with a beefeater without clobbering him to death, with a meat cleaver.

You strongly support Kashmir to be an integral part of India, have the mental sanctity to sit across the table or on a digital platform with a staunch supporter of Kashmiri Independence without bursting into ‘Doodh Mangogey to Kheer Dengey and Kashmir Mangogey to Cheer Dengey’ (Ask for milk, we’ll give you pudding, ask for Kashmir and we’ll tear you apart) every now and then with a sadistic gung ho tone.

Believe in the freedom of your ideas and the freedom of opposing ones and believe, that in a truly free nation, ideas don’t have to be correct, to exist.


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