On the eve of independence Jawaharlal Nehru said
Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the
world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.’
Celebrating the freedom and life that was offered to us after years of revolts and satyarah, each Indian was happy in its own capacity. While some were happy with the freedom of labor that they and their ancestors had undergone for the last 200 years, others were happy for the liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, others enjoyed the social, economic and political justice that they were
offered, and many others rejoices about the equality of status and opportunity that the independence would bring.
These are not just words, but our own constitution that beautifully describes the emotions of each Indian along with the aspiration that we held on to when the Britishers left.
Every year since then, 15 th August has not been any less than a festival in India. No matter how much we curse our country each day for the bad infrastructure, lack of opportunities, and the corruption, 15 th August we all come together and thump pur hearts to the beautiful patriotic songs that we have grown listening to.
From ‘Sare Jahan se Acha’ to ‘ Ae mere vatan ke logo’ each song is not just lyrics, but an emotion that each Indian carries within and whether or not you have read about the struggle for freedom, you know this life has come at a cost of money, struggle and life.
But do we really respect the freedom?
A lot has changed since 1947, we not only have evolved as humans, but the life we live today is very different from the one earlier.
However, there are things that have not changed at all. While earlier we worked for the British East India Company, now we work for larger corporates not just from UK, but around the world.
Earlier we were made to work for hours, today too we see everyone around following the 9-5 culture and dedicating each second of their moment to work.
There are many more similarities. So did we enjoy our freedom too soon or is there a need to rewrite the constitution or our laws based on people’s understanding of freedom today and their notion of future life later?
What we have vs what we need
We have social Justice, but what we need is the society’s acceptance to grant justice to all
We have economic justice, but what we need is the justice that grants us equal economic position, pay parity for all.
We have political justice, what we need is the justice for anyone to talk about the political situation in the country.
We have liberty of thought, what we need is the liberty to bring our thoughts to action.
We have liberty of expression, what we need is the liberty to express myself without judgement
We have liberty of belief, what we need is the loiberty to follow a belief, a practise at the cost of my security.
We have liberty of worship, what we need is the liberty to worship at my preferred place without being
JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:JUSTICE, social, economic and political;LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation. The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India which states the basics of how the country must be run. In the same, there are some fundamental rights which is granted to every citizen of India and some fundamental duties which every citizen of India owes to the country. While the fundamental rights were borrowed from the ’Bill of Rights’ of the US constitution, it has seen many amendments with changing times. However, the fundamental duties were added by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, upon the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee. While not getting into the details of all that the Constitution talks about it is important that after so many years of independence as learned members of the society we understand what our rights are and if we are really free?
In every civilized society in order to prevent abuses that threaten the entire civilization, to create happiness for all people, and to prevent great unjustified suffering, fundamental rights are granted to each citizen. Let us see the legal rights and the actual rights.
1. Right to Equality ( Article 14-18)
Articles 14-18 talk about the right to equality, which also prohibits any discrimination on the basis of sex, caste, gender, place of birth or religion.
Is this just a right for name sake or do we actually have to freedom to stay equal and avoid any discrimination? a.Caste discrimination: The SC, and ST are still thought of as low class and I’ll be treated in many areas of the country. I recently visited a village in Uttarakhand, Due to sudden death in my family. All the people came to pay condolence to the deceased. There is also a lunch that is arranged during the death of a closed one. What happened next shook me to the core. All the people who came were divided into two sets: one set of people was made to sit and eat with plates and utensils that were made available by our family. However, the second set of people was carrying their own plates and bowls. They were made to stand in a line and we were served on the plates they carried. The way the food was being thrown on their plates made me question why they were being treated this way, to which one of my cousins answered ’they are the lower class, this is treated as they should be. I had absolutely nothing to say and just answered him maybe you deserve to broaden your mindset. b.Sex Discrimination: At many workplaces, bosses avoid taking girls because they think it is a responsibility. I recently went for an interview and the question that the interviewer asked me was ’ what is your age? So do you plan on getting married soon, I asked him ’ How was it important for him to know whether I would be married or not in the near future. To which came the absurd reply ’ if you get married, you may leave the job and relocate and we expect long term commitment from our employees ’.I don’t blame the guy completely as girls do that. But how fair is it to judge all girls on the same parameters?
c.Religion Discrimination: This we all have witnessed and some of us may actually be guilty of promoting it. So at my workplace, I have had long arguments with my colleagues regarding this. They have started calling me ’liberal ’ which apparently seems to be a negative word in today’s time. Now, why am I a Liberal: • I believe that humans are bad and good, not religion. • No religion teaches you to kill people. • A very unrealistic Hindu is as bad as a Muslim terrorist. • What happens in Kashmir is not because of the Muslim population there, it is because of the ill management of the government. If these pointers make me a ’Liberal’ I am proud that I am. I have friends from different religions and I don’t think anybody is more aggressive than the other. They are all equally good and equally well behaved. In a similar fashion right to equality has become a mere joke for everyone where intercaste and inter-religion married is still considered a taboo and gossiping about someone from the other religion a source of entertainment.
2. Right to Freedom ( 19-22)
Actual: Freedom of speech, protection of life are the basics that define this law but do we have the freedom.
a.Protection of life: A classic example of failure to protect life was recently seen in the Unao Rape Case. The entire family was killed because they practised their freedom of speech against an MLA who was charged with rape. Now the government has asked to fast track the case, pay compensation and all the flowery stuff, but do you think now is the time for all this. Right from the start, we all saw the then of events bug the government thought ’Man vs Wild’ was more important than saving a kid. b.Freedom of Speech: We have all heard of the famous journalist Gauri Lankesh who was shot dead. The shooter Parashuram Waghmore confessed that he had no clue who he was killing. He was a, as to kill someone to save his religion and he agreed without thinking twice. This is our freedom of speech, if you go against the ruler you end up being a part of the massacre.
3. Right Against exploitation (23-24)
Actual : Right against exploitation includes the most ignored right of prohibiting human trafficking and child labor.
How many times have we called for a ’ chotu’ to get us tea and pokora in a restaurant? We all consciously know that he is a kid and discuss how he is so small. How many of us have actually complained or rescued these kids and practised our rights. Only because we have not been in that situation do we fail to raise our voice against the ill that these kids go through.
4. Right to freedom of religion (25-28)
Actual : As the name suggest it provides every citizen the right to practice any religion or refrain from any. Also under this religious institutes are given various benefits. How are these rights being used or are they being used at all?
I recently got to know about this Incident that a known person had done. In a university, there were Muslim students who were praying and offering ’Namaz’ as is mentioned in their religious texts. The University in order to avoid any such things happening in the university actually organized a ’Hawan’ and directed all the smoke toward the place where the students offered Namaz. This was a very planned move in order to stop the Muslim students from praying. So is this how fundamental rights are practised. Also, there is an Ashram which enrols students and teaches them about the Hindu religion and its beliefs. The ashram is only for boys and that too is only for the upper caste. So how fair is it to use your fundamental right to religion in order to violate another ’Right to Equality?
5. Cultural and Educational Rights ( 29-30)
Actual : This rights talks about preserving the rights of minorities .
Despite the treatment that animals undergo in Jallikattu it still is practised in the name of preserving the minority culture. Jallikattu, also known as Eruthazhuvuthal, is a bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as part of the Pongal harvest festival. PETA alleged that Jallikattu was a blood sport in which bulls were subjected to various types of cruelty.
6. Right to Constitutional Remedies ( Article 31 -35)
Actual : This right actually talks about the citizens right to move to Supreme Court for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part.
While the above rights have been a joke, this part makes no real sense in practical terms. The Indian Independence struggle is a story that flows through the blood of each Indian citizen and the Constitution too was formed to avoid repetition of any unrest in the future. While the Constitution makers paid to heat to every small detail, we as citizens have somehow forgotten it all. It is high time we stop blaming the government and take control of our hands. A democracy is ’of the people, for the people and by the people which is only possible if we know what is our power. This is what fundamental rights and freedom mean to you and me. We are still not sure how to use it and where to use it. Before our rights comes our fear of being getting ourselves for something. So we choose to ignore than actually take a strong stand. We are so used to the phrase ’ the government is doing nothing that we forget our rights and duties as citizens.
Our ignorance towards our duties has great examples: 1. After 70 years of independence, our Prime had to tell us ’ keep your country clean’. 2. We are so busy criticizing everything around us that we forget to practice our right to vote. 3. We love to show our love by actually scratching the walls of our monuments and writing Pankaj loves Pooja. 4. Despite a zebra crossing, we will walk in the middle of the road and abuse the guy on the vehicle that he can’t see. 5. We proudly say ’ we are multi cultural and multi lingual country’ but would rather kill our daughters than marry someone outside our cast or religion. 6. We call our motherland ’Ma’ but would make sure to scan every girl who passes by. 7. We talk of Karma and hard work but any problem in our lives we run straight to the priest. While we still haven’t realized the importance of these rights ask the ones who have been on both sides and experienced either world. They are the real heroes who will tell you how rights are important and when the Constitution provides you with the right to use it for the betterment of society and the nation.
The colors of freedom surround the air,
The birds Sing their freedom affair.
Everything around seems so calm and fair
But was it always so peaceful this way.
The struggle for freedom was all around,
So many martyrs, so many gave kept in bounds.
But what stayed out was the fire within,
Which led to this Independence Day.
The nation continues on its way to the best,
But it will happen only if citizens too are ready to Invest.
We can make this country an example for all,
A sign of unity and diversity thriving without any same walls.
Let’s promise ourselves to be good citizens now,
Enjoy our rights and follow the duties, let’s take a vow.
This country is mine so I have to take care,
Or Independence day will just be a day for messages to share