Friday, August 14, 2015

The Cost of Freedom: Responsibility.

Exactly 5 years ago, almost around the same time, I wrote 'The Dream Called 'India'...', my understanding of the dream that those who fought for the freedom of our nation must've seen, 69 years ago.

Today, I am at the crossroads that has me turning cynical to the very same dreams that I believed were real and obvious. And that, not because I've lost the faith, not because I am any less determined to be a part of the change; but because I'm instigate and angry seeing otherwise happen all around me. All the time.

Over the past few weeks, I've been struggling with many things that I see around me, and trying to get to the literal 'root' of the problem, and maybe I'm seeing things, but it takes me to a common conclusion about the country we have become: We love our freedom, but we love skirting the responsibilities tagged along with it, even more. And, there, we forget that the freedom comes with responsibilities. The burden of responsibilities, is the sweetest cost and reward, both, of freedom.  

We love our freedom of speech, but we also love disrespecting someone else's, just as much. Just look at how unashamedly we abuse the media of this country, that is only but a reflection of the general populous. We resort to name-calling and abusing those who have an opinion that doesn't fit well in our psyche, without ever giving them a chance to tell their side of the story.

We love unabashedly abusing the government for providing inadequate, incompetent roads, while conveniently disobeying traffic rules flamboyantly. Right from not following signals, to driving under influence, to driving on the wrong side of the road, to avoiding the simple safety helmet or seat-belt, to handing a  ₹50/- note to escape a ₹500/- fine. 

We take pride in Indians who have achieved great heights elsewhere, while continually overlooking the greater problems of why they didn't achieve the same in this country. We take credit for the progress of companies and countries elsewhere, while our country and companies stay stuck in the 'developing' phase.

We talk a big game about equality among the sexes, and soon after, discriminate explicitly between the things the daughter can't do, while the son can, or vice versa. At the end of the day, we still see our women in the kitchen and completing household chores, while the 'man of the house' goes out and earns.

I could rant all day, and I'd still not tire. I could point out each and everything that I observe, day in and day out, and the list would still be incomplete. But this is about the real, core issue about do we deserve the freedom bestowed upon us by the Hon. Constitution of India? Are we worthy of that freedom, if we abstain from fulfilling our responsibilities?

I recently came across this incredible video of Dr. Shashi Tharoor at the Oxford Union Society, where he debates why Britain does owe reparations to the colonies. Since, I've only been wondering, did we win our Independence, and thereafter our freedoms, at a rate faster than what we could understand it, digest it, cherish it? Right about now, it sure seems that way.

Let's be clear, I'm not taking the side of the Government and saying they're as pure as the Ganga. Hell, I loathe our elected representatives to the Lok Sabha. Even more so right now because they have just wasted most of one month of the monsoon session of the Parliament, for no concrete reason, but just to prove that they can do it and nobody can stop them! Various real issues of the citizens pending before the Parliament will just have to wait a few more months before any decision can be arrived at.

But, before we lift a finger at someone else, and demand our freedom, let's look into ourselves, and think, do we actually deserve that freedom? And, that leads me to ask, are we as a country really responsible enough to deserve the freedom we have?

Yes, I am ranting. Yes, I am complaining. Yes, I am picking and seeing the flaws, over the victories. But, that is because I love this country, and I can't see it be disrespected this way by people who demean the nation with sheer, unashamed, blatant, dirty hurls of abuses. And, there isn't anything new here that I haven't said in numerous other posts before today.

Responsibilities aren't an outcome of freedom, they are the requirements to deserve freedom.

Let's listen to what the next person has to say, before judging him on the basis of who he is. Let's wait for those 5 seconds at the next signal and actually wait for the signal to turn green, instead of believing it must have. Let's fix our education system and create worthy professionals, who'll make more a difference to this country. Let's just hit the brakes on the discrimination and treat every individual with the same dignity and respect that we want for ourselves. Let's not forget that we are the system and the change begins with us, not elsewhere.

Let's be better citizens of this country, this Independence Day, before we demand some more freedom.

Jai Hind!

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