(Article) CSM - February 2013: The Misinterpretation & Misuse of Freedom in India
India has enjoyed freedom over the last sixty four years, but has it actually savored it. It has come a long way since 1947. Political, judicial and administrative systems have all undergone drastic transformations. However, the only difference is that these transformations were more of a step forward and two backwards, making the progress complicated. If good things happened, they came at some price and so did freedom. Freedom meant a sense of responsibility, which unfortunately could not be displayed by its inhabitants. Hence, the country gave us everything, but in return asked for its price. The country gave freedom to its citizens and constantly reminded them of the price associated with it.
Freedom can be summarized as, “the Sequence of Setting Free of Multiple Domains into Motion”. Freedom means to excel and move on. But, unfortunately freedom is one of the most misinterpreted, misunderstood and misused word in English language. Freedom in most of the cases is interpreted or compared with irregularities in lifestyle. People think freedom means “Free from All”, that is, free from work, culture, tradition, nationality and in some instances enlightenment and total liberation from life. Above all what they never think of is that, freedom is nothing but ultimate responsibility in life.
In some instances in Indian society, people often misinterpret freedom as women equality. Some also raise their voice stating that women are being treated as donkeys, working both at office as well as home. But, they often tend to forget that Indian society has provided not equal, but higher rights to women than men. If one digs into the details, you can find that the responsibility of building a strong family and bond between its members have been placed on women’s shoulders, which is a stepping stone towards building a strong society and nation.
Women have given this responsibility because, they are more emotionally connected than men and their heart rules over the mind which is an essential ingredient to build a lovely family and society. For example, Mother Teresa was able work for the ailment for poor and diseased and thus with respect and love people called her Mother. There are many men who worked for ailment and betterment of society, for freedom. But, none are associated with the ailment and betterment of the poor and diseased in such a large scale. There is a common thought in India that a girl goes to husband’s house after marriage and servers her in-laws, but men do not have to come across this torture, share the burden or perform daily chores. But, the answer is in the society itself. In some parts of Karnataka state, especially among Tulu speaking community, there is a custom wherein the boy goes to wife’s house and looks after his in-laws. This is popularly known as Aliya Santana. There was also a matrilineal system followed in royal families of ancient Tulu Nadu. Rani Abbakka Devi of Ullala is an example provided by the history of India. She was the direct female heir to the throne of Ullala from where she ruled her kingdom and fought with the Portuguese for four decades. She is also regarded as the first woman freedom fighter of India.
Freedom is neither in misconceptualizing equality nor in fighting for over-freeness to visit pub, bar or in the name of socialization having free sex and corrupting the whole community or society by increasing the number of HIV AIDS infected population. Freedom is in understanding of duty and responsibility. The fundamental rights might be there, but its usage always carries “at your own risk” tag. If right to equality says no to discrimination based on caste, creed, religion and sex, then there are a few states which have gone ahead and ruined the sanctity of this statement. They proudly discriminated people based on native state and language. Hindi, officially our national language is still looked down upon when spoken in a few states. People ranging from common man to ministers are mercilessly beaten by the self-proclaimed local godfathers and their henchmen for either speaking in Hindi or from hailing from a different state.
Things do not end with just one fundamental right. It extends to the rest as well. A blue and blackened face, who might have tried to revoke it, may stare helplessly hoping the right to freedom of speech and expression to revive. Likewise, right against exploitation, educational and cultural rights are also a farfetched dream for many. The country still boasts of child labor, going against the right at the first place. Poor uneducated children are often found subjected to the dastardly act. Apart from the former, slave trade and child prostitution are new additions into the ways of exploitation.
In any country, people take freedom for granted and try to perform the act of their own. It can be legal or illegal. They often forget that in a democratic republic freedom is directly controlled by constitution, as both are defined hand-in-hand and they structure the future of nation. Most often people get into dirty politics and tend to forget that freedom is there not only to enjoy, but to prove themselves in certain areas of life, and thus create a better atmosphere around them and a better society.
Freedom is most often misused. For example, Osama-bin- Laden, an Al-Qaeda terrorist recently killed by US Navy Seals 6. Dint he had status in society, enough money to lead a luxurious life, knowledge to excel? He had it all and a strong business empire borrowed from his Father, yet he lost in life all because of misuse of freedom. Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler and many more had power, riches and popularity yet they lost in race of life; because they tried to rule the whole world. Dawood Ibrahim, son of a respectable police constable became a notorious underworld don, all because of misuse of freedom.
People forget that freedom is provided to achieve something in life which is helpful for society and the nation, not to cause problem. To keep a check on you, policing of mind and soul by self is essential. It helps you to reach new heights in life, scale altitude which is untouched by others ever in history of this beautiful world. People always condemn the nation and its government for all their social problems; but, once turn around and think what have done or given to this nation and society? When you ask for freedom then think of responsibility. Accept the responsibility, prove yourself and show the world how capable you are? Thus help the society, nation and the whole world to get benefited from it, in a positive way.
Excessive amounts of freedom led to its misuse, which has catapulted in broadening the crime domain. The irony is that that a bad event cannot be labeled as crime till it is proven. High crime rates constantly shake our conscience, but we fail to wake up. And even if we do, the scary road to freedom disintegrates the remaining shred of courage. The very rigorous path of being exploited in the name of justice fills the heart with an unknown, indescribable fear. It tells that victims are well off with just one bad episode as seeking justice would be like encountering many of them.
That’s why half the people don’t seek justice due to fear and the other half bears the brunt of seeking the same. Throughout the journey, they are constantly exploited for being relieved with justice. Physically, mentally and financially, justice demands upfront payment at every step, tiring them thoroughly. By the time one reaches the doors of justice, one remains confused as to seek justice for which particular crime.
Every coin has two sides. Similarly, the progress also highlights a darker, a much shunned aspect. If the country has westernized in terms of clothes, food habits, industrialization, medical and technological solutions, it is losing its well being. Clothes no more fulfill the purpose of hiding flesh, industrialization has killed natural flora and fauna, medical advancement has allowed us to realize that we are becoming sicker day by day. In terms of food, it’s an even pathetic situation cause if one half of the country diets then other half remains famished and under poverty line. This is sheer mockery and reflects the price we paid for putting our nation on the international map.
Maybe we are not living in British era, whereby our choices are no longer conditioned by their power and rule. Take a closer look and you will know that only the sides of the coin have changed. Now instead of British raj, we have our own exploiting local goons and corrupt netas to superimpose their choices on us. Mere restrictions from exercising our fundamental rights have indeed helped them in handicapping us. They brainwash us, sometimes by hook or crook, to make their choices seem better. After sixty four years, maybe we have freed ourselves from the clutches of the English, but we still have a long way to go to taste independence and freedom from the clutches of malpractice, exploitation, mental harassment, corruption and crime. It is high time we respect the very little amount of freedom bestowed on us, take suitable action before we remain nothing more than zombies.