The midnight hour approaches, and before I go on, I am going to link to the speech that Jawaharlal Nehru made on the eve of our Independence in 1947. To watch it, you will need to click the link that is embedded in his name. This is a speech that still sends tingles down my spine. It is a fantastic speech today. I say that it is a fantastic speech, because that is what it is. It promised freedom, a new future for us as a Nation. It was a beautiful moment, one of the most beautiful that can come in the history of a nation – freedom. We have had centuries of invasions, and to be free was a great feeling.
Do click the link and watch this 1 minute snippet before you read on.
So, what is a picture of two hens, or cockerels, doing in the same space as Jawaharlal Nehru’s marvellous speech?
Is the chicken on the cage free, or does it live in the illusion of freedom?
And, what is this picture of this lady doing along with that speech?
So, let me quote another great Indian, one who I have always held up as an ideal, Swami Vivekananda, who was born in 1863. He said, amongst other things, “All the wealth in the world cannot help one little Indian village if the people are not taught to help themselves.”
When the people of the country can stand up, feel strong, they will feel free. When people in our country can stand up and help themselves, and each other, then they will feel freedom. This is when they will stop depending on handouts from passersby.
Freedom is a concept that we often take for granted, but one that we don’t feel unless it is taken away from us. What happens to those who have never experienced freedom?
Is freedom only freedom from poverty? If this is the case, then we as Indians don’t score very well as a Nation, as we have one third of the world’s hungry, despite the fact that we produce enough grain to feed the nation.
Is freedom only freedom when we can think for ourselves, and are strong in that ability? Or, is it freedom when we believe all the dogma that is fed to us? As a country, we often talk of our glorious heritage, but we don’t do enough to improve the present. It seems that we have the fastest rate of increase in the number of billionaires in the world, yet millions die in ignorance and poverty. They are not free from the chains of the old caste system, despite the government’s attempt to reserve jobs and educational slots for them.
What is freedom indeed?
I met an Aussie man who told me to reduce the number of my masters, and then I would be free. This is philosophy, so I won’t go into it.
Is there freedom for women who are raped and killed?
Is there freedom for people from the North East who come to Delhi to face discrimination in their own country?
To walk in fear is not freedom.
To walk, like responsible people, without fear; with pride and humility, with open minds, is in my view, the beginning of freedom.
We have another tryst with destiny when the clock crosses the midnight hour tonight.
We should think of the words of Nehru, Vivekananda and others who fought for our Independence, and really try to understand the value of independence and freedom.