What is Independence?

It is not just about being free from foreign control.

Photo by Shahid Sultan from Pexels

While I am writing this article, India is celebrating its 75th Independence day. This caused me to ponder over the question of real independence. Though we got free from the colonial rule but are we really free? Before I delve into answering this question let’s analyze the reasons for losing freedom.

Analogy to coconut

Society flourishes when the majority of the people in it are involved in creative activities. But apart from these creative people, society needs some soldiers who could shield its people against foreign invasion.

Coconut has a tender pulp that makes it desirable but it is able to sustain its tenderness only because there is a hard covering protecting it from outside influence.

Similarly, a society may consist of creative people but it also needs to have a strong army in order to protect itself from outside influences.

India had a very liberal past where people in it were creative. A vibrant example of it consists of people like Vatsyayana who wrote Kamasutra, a book on lovemaking. There were also many deities in India who were female showing that men and women were treated equally.

Apart from having a vibrant society consisting of creative people, India could not save itself from foreign looters who would invade India and rob it of its wealth and innocence.

“India was like a coconut pulp without the outer covering”

“The pulp eventually lost its tenderness and became uneatable”

After that, it was very easy for India to be ruled by others. The creative people went into a shell in order to protect themselves and thus the vibrancy and liberty were lost.

Independence is the first step

The concept of one world is not yet materialized. People in different countries have different sets of beliefs and subconscious fears so if another country is ruling you then there is a lot of chance that your wishes and desires will not be catered to.

Being ruled by one of your people is the first step in creating a society where people are taken care of. Hence independence from foreign control is the first step in regaining lost glory.

India achieved its independence from colonial rule in 1947 and I think it was the first step towards getting real independence.

Real independence

The real independence of a person is when he is free to do what comes naturally to him. Now there are various kinds of people in a country and there cannot be one rule that satisfies all its people. There might be a person who is attracted to the opposite sex quite easily. If the rule of the country says that love is permissible only after marriage then the person has to curtail his natural instinct. Thus, he is not free in his country.

Thus, real freedom can be achieved when the rule of the country does not cater to one type of people but is different for people of different character types.

What to do till then?

A person is complete in himself. He is actually pure consciousness that is love. Apart from basic necessities like food and shelter, he does not need the outside world for his inner happiness.

Even after independence, if the rule of the country forces a person to curb his natural instincts then he should turn inwards.

Example: John is aggressive in nature but lives in a society where he cannot express his anger. It is considered rude to argue or talk in a loud manner. It is also not permissible to post anything against the government on online forums. The rule of the country also punishes such people.

In order to deal with his natural instinct, John turned inwards. To begin with, he would release his anger and frustration in solitude. Later he found out that there were many subconscious fears that caused him to get agitated. He applied the process of catharsis and refinement of the inner child to overcome them.

John had been doing the inner work for quite some time but still, there is a part of him that has an urge to be aggressive. He then started doing meditation and tried to get to the source of his being i.e. pure consciousness. He found happiness and stillness in the process.


I sometimes wonder why the British could rule India and not India rule the British. It seems there was not a fair sense of balance between security and creative activities that led India to lose its vibrant society to foreign invaders. Had India put in equal emphasis on security and continued to flourish its liberal society then maybe it could have ruled the British empire.

But again why do the same injustice to others what was done to you.

Every country should be ruled by its own people till the time the whole world becomes one family. With globalization, I see that dream becoming a reality but there is still a long way to go. Even after the world becomes one family, not every person will be the same. Hence different laws should be there for people of different character types so that real independence is achieved. Till then people should turn inwards to find happiness. It may turn out that turning inwards is a better way of finding true independence.



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Utpal Kumar

Utpal Kumar

Interested in the psychology behind human functioning. I write on a variety of topics with most of them dealing with personal development | MS in CS from UCSD