How free are we?

On the face of it, yes, we are a free nation. We are free of the imperialistic era. We are free to cast our votes and choose our own government. We have the freedom to speak out against any injustice for we have an impartial judicial system on which we can place our faith.
We enjoy free press,which gives us unbiased report on the running of our nation,on the happenings around the world,right at our doorstep. Yes we are free.
Free to breathe, free to talk. Free to walk, as we wish. Why, we are free to spit and even pee as,when and where we please.

But is that all there is to freedom. Are we really free?

  • Do I, as a woman, have the freedom to go out at night alone without the fear of being molested, raped or assaulted?
  • Why just night, can I walk on an empty street in broad daylight without a backward glance for any possible threat to my safety?
  • Can I walk upto a packet lying in one corner of a shop and pick it up without experiencing a chill run down my spine at the prospect of it ‘exploding’
  • Or for that matter can I have an absolute stranger come up to me for a harmless conversation and not eye him with suspicion? Why, he maybe a terrorist for all you know!
  • Do I have the freedom to feel safe in my own city, my own country?
  • Would a person from a ‘supposedly’ lower race, caste or creed feel free to stand shoulder to shoulder with someone from a higher strata WITHOUT any discriminatory glance from the latter?
  • Can a man visit a temple wearing jeans or a woman in salwar-kameez WITHOUT being disallowed for not wearing a mundu or saree instead?
  • Can a girl wear jeans or any ‘western outfits’ WITHOUT the risk of being blamed for ‘inviting eve-teasers or molesters?
  • Do we have the freedom to wear what we want to with ‘NO DRESS-CODES ATTACHED’?

  • Do filmmakers have the freedom to release a movie WITHOUT kowtowing to the ridiculous demands of our political fascists?
  • Do we have the freedom to go to a pub without the fear of getting beaten up by religious fanatics?
  • Do we have the freedom to choose who we marry without the fear of being castigated or even killed by our own family for endangering their ‘honour’?

The day I get an answer to all of these questions, in affirmative, I’ll understand the meaning of freedom in its truest sense.

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24 thoughts on “How free are we?

  1. some points are very valid, but somewhere in a civilised society freedom comes with lot of responsibilities, if we shoulder them we will have all the freedom we NEED, not what we want.

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  2. Some very valid points raised there.
    We sure are still tied down by scores of shackles and fears. But like Renu said, freedom always comes with responsibilities. I am hopeful that day will dawn when we have the perfect mix.
    Nicely written!

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  3. The caste, creed things have become really less now Deeps – we do see cases but we are def. moving forward. Even the temple part. I know there are a few temples which have a dress code, but for that matter even when I went to Vaishno Devi recently, I saw people in all kinds of dresses. I know what u have listed are only a few examples, but we def. are moving forward.
    It’s not that we don’t feel safe and secure at all. If we see the work being done at our borders to keep us safe, we can realize the real value of freedom that we have.
    And we can def. work on the other few things. Am sure they will def. change!

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    1. Swaram, I dont, for a second, doubt our jawans’ work and I’m fully convinced and grateful that they are doing all they can to keep us safe and free from any possible threat from external forces. But when I hear horrid stories of rape, molesting, domestic violence, child abuse, religious fanaticism, discrimination among many other, emanating out of my own country, I cannot help but feel how our own people challenge and misuse the very freedom to harm their fellowmen. How much more saddening can it get than this?

      As for the dress-code in temples, I do have a personal example to give, swar. About a few years back( I think Namnam was 2and half then) we had gone to one of the temples in Kerala and I was wearing a churidar-kurta, As my luck would have it I was stopped right at the entrance. R & Ma were on the brink of fighting it out with the temple authorities but in vain. And guess what I ended up draping a dhoti/mundu(borrowed from the temple-store) over my churidar and only then was I allowed to go inside 🙄

      Having said that I do hope things change for the better and we move forward :).

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      1. I am amazed at you saying they stopped you.. HOW DARE THEY.. I cant beleive this and these are the people who also preach that GOD says all human are equal .. funny people

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        1. THere are temples in Kerala who still follow that routine. Women HAVE to wear a saree and men have to wear dhoti and go without shirt.
          I told my mom, fine, these rules are man-made….God does not really care what clothes I go in (not saying I will purposely go in scanty clothes to spite them)….I refuse to go to that temple at all…as simple as that. Who are they to tell me what I should wear??

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  4. wow a post from you after agessss .. 🙂
    and beautiful post ..
    good points and questions asked … makes me think

    But then I also feel Why should i bother what others think.. I do what I want to do .. If there is a dress code and I dont want ot use it then I still go with what I want to .. if someone has a problem they CAN LEAVE..

    We got a long way to go a VERY Long way and no way are me or you going to get there in our life time but if we work hard then maybe our generations to come might get to be there sometimes …

    Dont let this hassle you Deep’s keep smiling and I am 100% with you on each of your points I dont know why and when we will be FREE …

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  5. Gandhiji said India will get freedom only when women walks alone on the roads at night.

    Do women walk on the road alone without any male escort?? when something happens women is blamed for wearing revealing clothes which instigated men…

    And our dear politicians say western culture is spoiling us,they think we are adapting the western culture.What’s wrong in adapting the culture which gives so much freedom and respect to the women,no forcing (pressurizing)kids to take the career which the parent wants,not the kids choice……

    Excellent post deeps……

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    1. Absolutely, sari! We are often blamed for getting influenced by the ‘west’. Adding a ‘twang’ to your english or walking in and out of marriages is not the right way to get influenced. Giving respect to women, the freedom to wear what you wish to, optimum space to any given relationship, giving your children freedom tochase their dreams with ample guidance, so on and so forth is certainly the way forward. If that is a western culture, then so be it. It is certainly worth imbibing.

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  6. Any argument related to freedom reminds me of the conversation I’ve had with my grandfather. He’s brought me up with lots of independence and freedom. I’ve asked him once as to how he gives me so much freedom. He smiled and told me that the freedom to swing my hand stops where my neighbour’s nose begins. Case in point being, as long as one knows one’s reasonable limits….someone need not externally impose it on you.

    I don’t need a Shiv Sena to moralize me….I can take care of my morals myself, thank you very much. But unfortunately that is not how people think…..

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    1. “He smiled and told me that the freedom to swing my hand stops where my neighbour’s nose begins.” Exactly. A teaching I grew up listening to too from my elders :). And that makes so much sense, Ash. What is important is to know how to handle our freedom without encroaching upon others’.

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  7. Welcome back Deepu! I would love to reply to all the questions you have put up here, then it will become a post!

    All are relevant for the situation our country is in, now! It will take a long time for us to change,Deepu!

    Keep writing!

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  8. Well said Deeps! 🙂

    Caste creed and the discrimination is still there sadly! I see it here too, surprisingly… And the freedom to dress, well – the less said is better!
    The restrictions and the interference is still around!

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  9. Thought provoking. Each time we speak of being free, we need to think through this question you pose here. How free? Free at all?

    Am reminded of Tagore’s poem; and I wait for that day too…
    “Into that freedom of Heaven, My Father,
    Let my country awake.”

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