Are we really free?

August 15th this year marks 65 years of India’s independence, a day when we remember our forefathers who brought us out of the rule of British. Independence Day is celebration of our freedom, of us as a nation. It is a day dedicated to showing our love and respect for our motherland. We take pride in seeing the tri-colour fly high and singing the national anthem with patriotism. We shout slogans in praise of our motherland. But what does freedom mean to us? Are we really free?
Freedom means different things to different people. The dictionary defines it as the power or right to act, speak and think as one wants to without any hindrance or restraint. It also means the absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government. We may be free in the latter sense but not the former. Yes, we are free to do we wish but then there is a “Conditions apply” for it.
Think of it are we really free to express our thoughts and opinions?  Yes we are as long as it doesn’t concern people in power. We speak of India as a secular country but are our thoughts free from religious and ethnic biases? Definitely not! We are a free country but women are not free enough to walk around without the constant fear of being molested and tortured. How can fear and freedom co-exist?
India has progressed from being an under developed country to a developing one and I am proud of it. We have better facilities, better basic amenities and better education and in short a better life. Yet, we are still a developing nation. The world sees in India the potential to be the next super power but we need to introspect on what is holding us back. We still have people who cannot afford one square meal per day. We have people who have no shelter. Don’t they have the right to enjoy the freedom our leaders won? We still have gender biases. Female foeticide still exists and so does killing of the girl child. We still have many issues to deal with and many battles yet to be won against the evils that still exist in our society.
India has come a long way in these 65 years. We have progressed in many areas. We have overcome many obstacles to be what we are today. We need to take pride in these achievements not just on Independence Day but every day. At the same time we as responsible citizens need to come together and work towards building a better India and making it a super power. The youth have a greater responsibility in making India what our freedom fighters dreamt of. Bringing to reality the dream India, the India where each citizen has access to basic amenities, good education and a peaceful life.
Being free doesn’t only mean to do what to. It means to do what is right and just. With freedom comes great responsibility and we need to shoulder this responsibility and make India better. Let us promise ourselves today to work hard to make this happen.