Do You Think You Are Free?

Courtesy : Google images

The weekend ahead looks promising.  On Saturday most sisters will be rushing to their brothers to renew the lifetime protection warranty.  Independence Day on a Monday is an added bonanza.  It seems all these years of singing Just another manic Monday Wish it were Sunday has finally borne fruition

Many of my friends are planning a weekend getaway to a nearby hill station and for the rest of us it will be an excuse to shop some more and eat some more.  An extended weekend is like a windfall so why not make the most of it.   

But what many of us will not do, is ponder upon the historic relevance of a day which marks the birth of a free nation. 

In our country we don’t exactly celebrate our Independence.  School kids are herded to Red Fort and made to sing patriotic songs in the searing heat.... a lacklustre speech by a Prime Minister who prefers silence to action and does a Dhritarashatra to the misdemeanours of his colleagues....  It almost seems hypocritical to celebrate 64 years of emancipation from British rule only to have most of our elected loot the country’s resources and empty its coffers.  It’s tough to be a proud citizen of this country. 

Which brings me to the question – what does freedom mean to you?  When I asked around, I got interesting responses.  To be able to drink straight from a carton of milk.....freedom from accepted norms of how I should be free of control that others exert on our be capable enough to course the chart of my life without having to depend on anyone for be able to throw my wet towel on the floor.

Freedom is how we perceive it; each of us interprets it in our unique ways. 

Now let me ask you another one – do you really believe that we were born free? As children our parents make decisions on our behalf and decide what our priorities should be. We let them because we think they know what’s best for us.  We meekly submit to the roles assigned to us and struggle to prove ourselves worthy of the crown of expectations placed on our head.  The odd rebel is applauded only if he achieves success else he remains the family’s best kept secret.  

So as emancipated citizens of a liberated nation, how many of us can claim that we are truly liberated?  How many of us feel free enough to speak our minds without the fear of repercussion... to pursue our dreams and live our life the way we want to.  Freedom maybe our birthright but it is not bestowed upon us, it has to be achieved.  It may be as trivial as the length of a skirt or make others accept the choices we make.  We need to have the conviction to stand for what we feel is right and live by it.   

Freedom is a tricky thing and comes with its baggage of responsibility.  The mistakes we make are ours alone and that’s why the triumph seems sweeter. 

If you ask me what freedom means to me – it is a journey that begins with unshackling our minds from prejudice, bias, negativity and insecurities that plague us.  Independence is the freedom of our soul, sensitivity of the mind and a feeling understood only by the heart.  Only when we sensitize ourselves to conditions around us can we be the change that we seek to see around us.  

India, for all its faults, is unique in all facets of its collective entity – with different faiths, many cultures, many cuisines, and many thoughts that co-exist.  Where we enjoy Chhole Bhature with Dhokla and see a Bong woman dance to Bhangra beats.  You will come across radical views on life.  Intellect has a left and a right.  Agreed we need a World Cup victory to unite us, but what a celebration it is when 1.2 billion of us come together and rejoice!  The skies light up with crackers and excitement feels like a pleasant jolt.  We worship our celluloid stars however dumb they maybe.  We value love and treat our family as sacrosanct.  We cry when a city burns, fight for justice for the wronged and go all out to support a frail old man when he demands that our leaders be made accountable to the public.  We may feel disenchanted but we will never give up hope that there will come a time when India will lead the world.  

Till then let us seek freedom for ourselves.  Free your mind, the rest will follow.  Any takers?


  1. Nice post.

    Free your mind, the rest will follow.

  2. Yes! I want India to be a strong, technologically competent, and most importantly, an aware nation.

    Corruption happens mainly because of our apathy and secondly because a major portion of our population are simply unaware of what their rights are and what they can/should demand for.

    People have been fooled for long enough and our politicians have looted the country brazenly with impunity.

    Freedom from corruption; from dynastic, incompetent, flippant and rogue governance; from an-India elements is yet to be had.

    All forces internal or external which pose a threat to the national security should be wiped out first. This image of a soft, meek nation is hurting and costing India much.

  3. I believe and I think it is also written explicitly or implicitly in the constitution of this free nation.
    With freedom comes some liberties and some responsibilities. So it might be all right to drink a whole carton of milk from the carton itself, or directly from the cow, but if we can't respect the independence of others, if self comes before everything else (Not that I am an altruist, am Selfish at best), but I do keep in mind that what I don't like might not be liked by others too if I did that.

    So yes, freeing ourselves from bias and prejudice is a part of freedom, and that freedom from biased behaviour includes our viewpoints inclination. Thinking from other's perspective.

    Still, I don't quite know all the facets of Independence, it's a journey for me that unfolds its various facets, when it decides to.

    Nice post.

    Blasphemous Aesthete

  4. like they say, it takes two to tango, whatever/wherever our country is today is our own making. & what it'll b in d years to come will b our doing too. as u put it, for all our faults we r unique. lets raise a toast to our uniqueness!


    (oh, btw, the Dhritharashtra bit...hhahh u've a way of mocking that makes even the mocked feel gud!!

  5. With great freedom comes great responsibility.

    I think it takes a lot to instill those feelings of patriotism in the aam aadmi. At the rate at which things are going in the political circles, any aware citizen will only smirk and say this is "b*** S***".

  6. Thoughtful and touchy...Your take on Freedom ...Cholle bhature with Dhokla was the best combination anyone can even think of...i am taking my freedom seriously and therefore taking off on "Picnic"with wife and daughter ..Why i call it picnic is for the fact the place I have selected is miles away from the Malls...So no Shopping..My wife says at I times get bright ideas...all in all great piece Purba ..enjoyed it thoroughly...

  7. Hmmm...if you think about it, there is no definition for the word "Freedom" This is such an open question to philosophize on. There is no single answer and there is no right or wrong answer. And there is no complete answer either.
    But it is worth some sessions of brooding.

  8. Freedom is the right to be wrong and not the right to do wrong..

    It can have different interpretations in different circumstances.

  9. Tagore said...'where the mind is without fear and head is held high'...that's where freedom lies...if we are free to move our head and use our mind the way we want we are free :)

    I will take your point...

  10. Independence is the freedom of our soul, sensitivity of the mind and a feeling understood only by the heart. – very well put!
    Its true Purba, we are not born free and most of us struggle a lot for our ideas/ways of life/ideology to be accepted by all. especially if we are thinking or acting “out of the box”
    A very thought provoking post. Am sharing it on FB,

  11. We aren't yet free from several things.. one among them being what-will-others-think. Like a guru once said, the biggest challenge he faces is his mind. Yup! free your mind, the rest should follow!

  12. Why don't we just live our lives the way we want to as long as we don't harm other people. Isn't that what freedom's supposed to be?

  13. Freedom is a relative topic which might vary from person to person. Something similar I wrote in my recent post : Freedom of Expression:.

    And, I will celebrate freedom once we really get one:)

    Weakest Link

  14. Sensible, have to agree that freedom and the independence day, for us, is a pseudo term..
    Courage to stand out of league and seek something that we want, that might be different, fades away with the peer pressure and the 'responsibilities'..
    I liked that way u ended on a positive notion, nice post :)


  15. It's just another Holiday for most of us. Hope would always be there, but Me, I think the hope is diminishing day by day.

  16. Jidhu...Exactly

    Ajay...What we lack is a strong leadership...too many in the driver's seat...too many trying to bring the government down...popular policies lack support...

    But why not focus on the positives for a change?

    Anshul...Am I glad to see you back.

    Agree there is something intrinsically selfish about independence. Our major decisions in life will always affect people closest to us. So if I say my choices should not be dictated by others, does it mean I don't care about my friends and family?

  17. Sujatha...We are unique and I miss the chaos, the liveliness especially when I am traveling abroad.

    Pzes...I know we can't change things around us but but we certainly can change the way we think and react.

    Alka...Ahh love that phrase....

  18. Rajesh....Freedom from the cosmopolitan craziness.

    Ruchira...We find it safer to blend rather than standing out for our unorthodox views. And thanks for sharing.

    Ambika...It requires courage and conviction.

  19. Priyanka....It's not that simple. We all crave for acceptance.

    Rachit...Will read your post.

    Aakash...ahh..I decided to free myself from sarcasm this year.

  20. Bibek...I'd like to believe that we as a nation have become more aware. As citizens we have started demanding accountability - I think it's a big step forward.

    Prats....*Face Palm*

  21. Now that we are grown up, we feel children are being tortured.
    As a kid, I always enjoyed both Independence Day and Republic Day as a performer. One year I could not perform due to illness on Independence Day and I was so unhappy.

    Why only school children, we all should celebrate these days by contributing something to our country.
    I don't think I feel less proud coz, I don't like Mr. Prime Minister. My feelings are for my country and not for the PM.

    "We may feel disenchanted but we will never give up hope that there will come a time when India will lead the world."

    Till then lets simply enjoy...!!!

  22. @Ajay-One day, the people of the world will want peace so much that the governments are going to have to get out of their way and let them have it.I never lose hope:)

    Purba-Freedom is when you have nothing left to lose my hands are raised in a 'yes'for your last question.

  23. Freedom is an overrated, overused word in present times. We are salev to our own greeds, vrtual world. gagdets and un-necessary show off. Freedom is in my mind, like peace is. As long as am a free spirit, I am free. Forget everything else, at times we do not have the freedom to worship the idol we would like to..

  24. Freedom is having the choice. Liberation is choosing to make it.

    This is a very good post. You are right about so many things.

  25. Priya...I am glad that you were so enthusiastic about participating in Independence day celebrations.

    I guess cynicism sets in with age and experience.

    Sharmila...And let no one feed on our insecurities :)

    Chintan...Way to go girl - care a F^&%* about what others think!

  26. Freedom is usually understood in the narrowest of terms, usually in the personal sense. But like you say it is a mental state that comes from within.

    When you say as children we have to toe the line of parents, it is the way it should be, call me an old fashioned parent if you like. We used to give our kids the freedom appropriate to their age, never more or less.

    But then age appropriate freedom is something alien to us with the result that Pappu remains one all his life and Bunty throws his weight around at the age of 10.

    and hey, my mind is free and I am an eternal optimist too! Am I in?

  27. oh yes, we need to free our minds from unnecessary judgements in the first place.
    and we also need a more vigilant India..who looks for whats behind the curtains instead of believing illusions.
    and most importantly we need to follow our own instincts instead of relying on free advices being poured in from every direction.


  28. I completely agree to your post. Freedom is definitely a subjective matter, perceived by each one of us in a different way. And to be a part of the society is the main reason for people to accept the image given to them by their surrounding beings. Loved reading it. Made me think what I perceived out of freedom. :)

  29. Thoughtful post...Sadly true, every bit of it. The 'crowns' of expectations always bog us down, be it in family or the society.

  30. thoughtful post.. very real giving some hope too

  31. Each one has his or her own interpretation of Freedom but are we really free in our heart, our thinking and our actions? I think Not.

  32. Very thought-provoking. I certainly agree with you that freedom has become more a word than something real. As a person who thinks twice before she speaks, I guess freedom is being overshadowed by "ethics" and "manners".

  33. Zephyr...We fail as parents when we start thinking exerting too much control is the norm. What our children need is our unconditional love even if they do not manage to live up to our expectations.

    You are the sunshine lady - you are the president of our club!

    Sarah...Absolutely...that's how we evolve by learning to trust our instincts.

    Deeps...Freedom is how we perceive it :) It has no straight answer - no one is right no one wrong.

  34. Cloud Nine...Yes...we live for others as well.

    prasanna ... Glad you could relate to it.

    Ayyangar Sir...Exactly my point.

    Sudeshna...We need core principles. The day we abandon them, society will fall apart.

  35. Free your mind, the rest will follow... thought-provoking post! It's all in the mind...

    "How many of us feel free enough to speak our minds without the fear of repercussion... to pursue our dreams and live our life the way we want to."
    This is so true...atleast most of the people around me, including me fall into this.

  36. A beautiful,thought-evoking post.

    I've also tried to put forth the hazards of courting silence in my recent post.

  37. Dear friends!
    Sending you this present with my heart and with that you'll be happy in fullest measure. May the happinest things alway happen to you.

  38. Deepa...We are never free from expectations ...from responsibilities..from the need to be loved.

    Chitra...Thank you

    Umashankar...Will read your point of view.

  39. I can rant away to agree on all that you have said but to sum it all up - another beautiful post Purba! :-)

    Been a while since someone visited my blog. :P

  40. Freedom is a myth. Inter-dependence is the reality. But that's how the human civilization works!

  41. Purba,

    While I fully agree with you on "If you ask me what freedom means to me – it is a journey that begins with unshackling our minds from prejudice, bias, negativity and insecurities that plague us. Independence is the freedom of our soul, sensitivity of the mind and a feeling understood only by the heart." I beg to differ on role of parents when we are infants or even young enough to understand what is what properly. However I do say that time comes when parents need to let the child take own decisions after inculcating in him or her capability of applying mind fully. As far as freedom of our Great Nation is concerned I would like to quote Rabindra Nath Tagore when he wrote WHERE THE HEAD IS HELD HIGH. Sorry, I do not remember the exact words now but gist of it is exists deep in my mind and that is what I would say that we all should look for.

    Take care

  42. Very nicely written Purba... and I totally agree. Free your mind and the rest will follow.


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