Sunday, June 05, 2005
We're not free
In an excellent post, Gaurav Sabnis contrasts the freedom Americans have with the "freedom" that Indians enjoy. He writes:
What does "freedom" mean in India? I am afraid most people think of freedom as "sovereignty". For most Indians, we became free on 15th August 1947, because the state apparatus was run by our own people from that day onwards, as opposed to some foreigners. However, we have never really had a "freedom movement". For us, freedom meant the freedom to sing Vande Mataram, instead of God Save the King. Freedom meant being able to fly a tricolour instead of a union jack.Read the full thing.
All these things are expressions of sovereignty and NOT freedom. In India, we take our sovereignty very very seriously, because it is something we struggled for, and like anything hard-earned, we value it. But we never really fought hard for our freedom. There has been no satyagraha in front of the Sena Chief's house demanding that he not infringe on our right to celebrate Valentine's Day. There has been no protest rally against banning of books, though there have been several rallies demanding bans. There hasn't been widespread protest against some Draconian laws, like the ones which make holding hands on Marine Drive an offence.