What is freedom? What does it mean to you and me? Are we never going to break free from those invisible fetters that bind us? A few thoughts that made me think while India was celebrating Independence Day, this Saturday.
Albert Camus once said, that ‘the only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.’ Often, what we’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set us free.
We hold in our hands, the most precious gift of all – Freedom. The freedom to be who we want to be. The freedom to speak and do what we choose to speak. The freedom to wear what we choose to wear. The freedom to express our art. Our love. Why, then, should we be forced to give that freedom away because of a handful of people, who wish to see us otherwise?
In a country like India, women have such varying levels of freedom. A lot of us may be largely in control of our lives. But when I compare myself with my female counterparts elsewhere in the country, or even around the globe, I do feel there are millions more who are not that lucky. The growing spate of crime against women in our country makes me feel like a hapless spectator watching a horror show. I shudder to think what those women must have gone through, and how they might even have fought back but might have been forced to give in to malicious, vile forces all out to sabotage their freedom, self-respect and dignity.
Every day we read about countless women in various parts of the world, who fall prey to the subversive laws that take away their human rights, leaving them to suffer in silence, as victims of a biased, cruel and unfair world. No matter how vociferously we protest against gender bias and prejudice, it seems we are hardly able to make an impact or effectively change the course of things. Those in power resort to endless rhetorics and we are told that change is just around the corner, but it never comes. We are not born unequal, so how do things change for us? What gives one section of society the right to ownership over the other, so much so that they should direct what they wear, how they live and even decide their fate if there is any opposition or rebellion to overthrow their diktat?
It is disturbing to say the least. But, somewhere society is also beginning to realise that this is wrong. What, then should be the next step forward?
They say that the secret of happiness is freedom and the secret of freedom is courage. We are what we are, because of the conscious and subconscious choices we have made. And, we mustn’t ever forget that.
With 69 years of freedom behind us, today, let us pledge to expose ourselves to our deepest fear, so that it loses its power to scare us, and we can set ourselves free. We must win the war within. This is your battle as much as mine. In fact, this is our battle and we need to be in it together. If we break those narrow walls that divide us, we can be free. Only then can we earn our freedom. Only then, shall we be free!
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” ― Jim Morrison