So you think you’re free?

pexels-photo-951408.jpeg

Well, I’m sure you wish you were. But you aren’t.

And don’t worry, this isn’t some conspiracy theory rant where Big Brother/Corp/Government/Pharma have you in their control. What I’m trying to say is that independence is good, to an extent.

We don’t want to be slaves to anyone, of course. But we do depend on each other for our sustenance, protection, nutrition and well-being. And that kind of dependence is good. At the same time, we need to be self-sufficient in our own lives. We need to be independent enough to earn for ourselves and our families and make our life choices without needing permission at every turn.

We don’t want to be imprisoned. But we don’t want to be so free that we can rape, pillage and slaughter without consequences, without justice. We want to be free to follow our passions, get an education, wear the things we want and spend our lives with the people we choose.

So, are we free in the ways we want to be?

This is where you must think for yourself.

As for me, I have tried to separate the myriad variables that I feel tie down our nation and insults my individual sense of freedom.

Here is my perspective on our freedom

• We have a government that loudly celebrates as it enforces industrial reform to accelerate our country’s growth while silencing and discrediting those harmed by the effluents, or those who dare to speak out by calling them anti-national, among other things. We move two steps forward regarding technology, and three steps back as a secular country where beef is banned, mob justice rules and cows are autopsied instead of the victims.

• We have women, and men too, who will never be given the freedom to choose their spouses. They will never have the freedom to get a divorce from an abusive partner because their families may not take them back. A lot of arranged marriages are voluntary, yes. But what about the ones that aren’t? What of those who want to get married to someone other than whom their parents wish? What of those who want to marry someone from a different state, country, religion, or even of the same gender? When will they get their freedom?

• We have an infrastructure that lags far behind other nations regarding sanitation, power, water, health and connectivity. Most of our country probably doesn’t know the meaning of hygiene or 24 hours of power, let alone the miracle of getting clean drinking water from your kitchen tap that so many other countries take for granted. And so many here die wishing for. Public lavatories have been installed in so many locations, but so many of them are rank and never cleaned. The streets are still littered, the garbage dumps are overflowing, the water is still poisonous.

• We have youth whose dreams are mocked and replaced by what their parents want them to do. Of course, their parents want them to be successful, but the times when being a businessman, a doctor or an engineer were the only routes to be “successful” are long gone. These days you can be very successful as a travel photographer, a DJ, a social media influencer, a software developer and so much more. Parents, give your children some credit and the benefit of the doubt. If they fail, they will learn from it, and you’ll be there to support them and figure out the next step. Here’s an analogy: when they were taking their first steps, did you command them to walk and emotionally blackmail to do so or else? Or did you hold them up, encourage them to put one foot in front of the other, and be there for them if they fell? The same holds true when they grow up and start taking their first steps into the world of earning a living. Trust them. Believe in them. Give them the freedom to choose their destiny.

• We have corrupt politicians and government officials who would rather feed off the country than do anything for it. A lot has improved, for sure. But there are still many departments where you have to bribe officials to get anything done. Cops pull you over just to bribe you. Postmen ask for handouts if they deliver your passport. Roadways are made using sub-par materials because the money has been syphoned off by the chain of command. The list goes on and affects every single aspect of our lives. How will this country go anywhere if the people who were hired to serve the country only want to help themselves?

• Bans are thrown around on a whim but without a whit of research. The Beef Ban, the ban on the tinted glass on cars (which doesn’t apply to the power elite of the country of course), the ban on movies and books that those in power are uncomfortable with (like India’s Daughter, The Satanic Verses, and many more).

• Here, justice is a joke. Starting with traffic and ending with homicide, rape and paedophilia, the justice system drags cases along for decades before reaching a conclusion, if at all. No wonder people are not aware, let alone afraid, of the consequences of their actions.

All these facets affect our lives. For now, let us see these as symptoms, measures of how free our country really is. You may notice, these are not signs of a healthy nation. This is a nation that is being shackled by useless traditions, ruthless corruption and mindless superstition.

Conclusion

Let’s remind ourselves today that we have a long way to go for independence and freedom. Even though the totality of these problems can’t be solved by any one of us, change starts with each one of us.

The fight continues in each of our lives. We must fight for better government, better infrastructure, better roadways and railroads through votes and protests.

But most importantly, we must fight for our freedom to make choices about our own lives, who we choose to spend our lives with and what we want to do with our own bodies. We must fight to live independent lives from our families so we can learn from life’s hardest punches. I’m not saying we disown our parents, but insist that you are given the freedom to make your own choices and facing their consequences too. We must fight for our freedom to express ourselves without resorting to violence.

We must break the chain of tradition and culture that have been handed down for generations and start thinking for ourselves, thinking critically about the choices we make. We must slowly change the minds around us through our choices. That’s how we must fight for our own independence.

Only then, maybe, our nation will follow.