‘So, what are you doing on August 15?’
This question is doing the round in offices, communities, localities and societies. As luck would have it, the big day has fallen on a Thursday. The rest is simple. Take leave on Friday and then Saturday, Sunday is off anyway. So, what is stopping you from taking a long vacation. Heck! Raksha Bandhan and Independence Day fell on the same day, otherwise there would have been another day off!
Anyway, to each his own. Some will perhaps go and see a movie, others will go on a short vacation, some will just stay at home and listen to every word of the Prime Minister’s speech. Some others will busy themselves with community Independence Day celebrations!
Now, the question is why do we observe Independence Day every year? Many will say that we celebrate our freedom from the British and remember our heroes of independence.
So how do you celebrate?
By remembering the freedom struggle and stories of sacrifice our heroes and perhaps some sloganeering? Is that all?
Well, how about doing it a bit differently. How about sparing an hour or so doing some introspection? How about asking ourselves some moot questions? What would be those questions?
1. Do I deserve this independence? Do I behave in the manner that the heroes of the freedom struggle had dreamt/wished/expected? Or do I just enjoy this freedom as it is available to me as a charity? The point is that for any right, one has to deserve it. If there’s freedom, it’s not because you are fortunate. It is because our forefathers gave their life for a better society with equality, dignity, liberty and integrity. Do I lack in my deeds in achieving those values? If yes, then how should I amend myself?
2. Does my freedom violate the freedom of others? Maybe I have a right to freedom. No freedom is absolute. The moment my freedom violates others’ freedom, the essence ceases. Have I done something that has hurt others? If yes, how should I rectify it? By hurting others’ sentiments, I am misusing my freedom. Does that make me undeserving to be a citizen of a free country?
3. Gandhi had said that freedom from the British is not enough. India should be free from all kind of discrimination, poverty and social evils. Is India free from all such evils? If not, am I also responsible in some way or the other? How can I be useful in attaining Gandhi’s idea of freedom?
I think introspecting on these three questions will take just one hour. During this, we could make a plan for next year until the next Independence Day. We are used to making New Year resolutions. How about making some Independence Day resolutions? Unlike New Year resolutions, we don’t have to announce them to everyone. These are for us to implement. We should prove ourselves to be worthy of an independent country.D
Do I deserve it? If not, what should I do now, so that on the next Independence Day, I can assess whether I have improved my worthiness to the freedom I am enjoying, thanks to the sacrifice of countless people.
The bottom line is, nothing comes free in this world. Everything including freedom has a cost. You may not have to pay for it but then you must do something to be worthy of enjoying this freedom.
Happy Independence Day!