Happy freedom from British Raj!

“Better than all the world is our India, We are its nightingales and this is our garden”

In Hindi it can be translated as:

“Sare jahan se accha Hindostan hamara; hum bulbulain hai is ki, yeh gulsitan hamara”

Today I woke up listening to this beautiful song sung by melody queen Lata Mangeskar which Rana (my roommate) was playing. I was instantly filled with the feelings of patriotism and thinking there couldn’t be a better start of this Independence Day. As usual, I made my morning ABC (amla, beetroot & carrot) juice while humming this song. Suddenly, I got a first call from my Mom (she calls me every day 5 to 6 times) and after few seconds of chit chat she started narrating about the possession passing through our house. School children were shouting “Vande Matram” & ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ slogans. I was taken over by the memories of my school days and how we used to enjoy going in the possession, parade, the flag hoisting followed by the mouth-watering jalebi and samosa. Really, what a golden day it was.

Then, all of a sudden a question struck me — are we really independent? Why; of course we are. How could I be so stupid of even asking this question to myself? But somewhere I was curious to convince myself with the reality — which I may know or may not but was unable to recall at that time. As usual, I wanted to start with basic and asked ‘Siri’ — What does independent mean? Freedom, liberty, self-sufficient, self-reliant etc. — she suggested. I started collecting facts based on Siri’s suggestion and within seconds I was flooded with so many questions with no clue about where it was originating from and where it was leading to…. ‘Women’ one of the maximum TRP generator word in Indian media community struck me first among many others. Genuinely. And I wanted to express–

Do our women walk safe down the street at night without fear of being shouted at, followed and grabbed or even worse?

‘The uplift of the women, the awakening of the masses must come first, and then only can any real good come about for the country, for India’ – Swami Vivekananda

Several people were arrested under sedition laws for expressing their dissent with government policy. People were arrested for even posting comments on Facebook.

When it comes to democracy, liberty of thought and expression is a cardinal value that is of paramount significance under our constitutional scheme. – Hon’ble Supreme Court of India

Do we really think India as a country is abiding by the freedom of expression which is protected under the Indian constitution and international treaties to which India is a party?

I personally think the answer is a BIG no. What do you think?

August 15th 1947 was the day the tri colour was first raised and a new and Independent India was born. Every year since then, we celebrate our Independence Day with growing pride and grand gestures. India has made gigantic strides in most fields since the British quit India for good. Impressive acceleration in ‘space’ to the transformation shaping on the ‘ground’ is quiet spectacular. It’s been years since we are free from British rule. Today standing here after years, do our women feel the freedom, freedom from the atrocities against them? Be it a gender stereotypes, women molestation, poverty, corruption or even road litter (to some extent), India is still ruled by these and far from being an independent country.

In the words of Sadhguru — “We have always been a land of seekers — seekers of truth and liberation”.

Let’ ask ourselves — are we really liberated?

So you see, India has a long way to go to achieve true and total independence. Until then, “Happy freedom from British Raj” to all of you.

PS: The views expressed in this blog are completely my own.

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