By Yeshu Aggarwal:
“My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.” — Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.
A young friend of mine aspires to go abroad, like I have, and attain his degree there. One fine evening, when I had the opportunity to talk to my friend’s dad about his future plans, I was taken aback by what his dad said. His words displayed that he did not trust his son at all. Also on many occasions, I felt that the reason why he had taken up engineering maybe because he was asked to do so. It made me wonder why children cannot be the ones to decide what they want to do with their lives. Of course, as parents, they have the right to have some kind of control on their children but they just should not make decisions for their children. A movie like 3 Idiots displayed this problem so accurately that I felt proud when my parents allowed me to make my own decisions and always guided me to the right path in case I wandered from my aim. The question that arises is: Why does this happen in a nation like India?
The answer to the question lies in our past. India’s history has been such that freedom has seldom been used to good effect and, thus, I do not entirely blame the elders for imposing decisions on their children. In today’s India, actual freedom is lost. As a businessman, you cannot do business peacefully. You are always on the radar of the local thugs and labour unions. The very recent example of this was the strike at Maruti Suzuki plant at Manesar, Gurgaon, where the labour union was on strike for about 15 days as the company had refused to agree to the demands of the labour union. Many of you may say that the labour has its own rights, to which I agree, but then do they put their rights to the right use? If you have ever been faced with similar situation you will agree to what I say. The rights today exists only with people who have power, be it labour unions or the politicians. Businessmen cannot do business peacefully; students cannot choose their fields happily. My question is what is the use of such kind of a freedom? This freedom is worse than being ruled over. Reservations are either for the poor or for the rich. What about the rights of a common man who is somewhere in the middle?
India’s strength lays in its middle class, common man. Yet, there are the ones who have always been neglected. It is the people from the high class who have benefited from the freedom we achieved in 1947. The poor is suffering too! As I said, they may have reservations, but that’s just part of the vote bank politics that the politicians play.
If you want to see India develop, let people decide what they want to do. Let students choose their own path and live a carefree life. Let businessmen decide whom to contract work and on what basis. Have a carefree approach to work! Nonetheless, have right policies in place at the right time so that we do not regret shamefully later on, like we are doing in case of Commonwealth Games and 2G spectrum allocation.
Live and let live.