India is celebrating today its 73rd anniversary of Independence from the British. ‘Independence’ not ‘Freedom’. We may be independent, but we are certainly not free. We are not free to love, we are not free to express, and we are certainly not free to speak. We never have and probably we never will, considering the type of life we have chosen for ourselves and our generations to come.
In August 1947, India was heavily wounded by the axe of partition when India of Bhagat Singh and Ashfaqullah Khan was divided into India and Pakistan. While many Muslims decided to migrate into the new state of Pakistan to live in the Islamic Republic, millions of Muslims chose not to leave their homes and their people and opted for Gandhi’s India instead of Jinnah’s Pakistan just like my forefathers.
We the Muslims, nah better, we the people of India, choose democracy and secularism over an Islamic state. We have never doubted over our decision; never have, never will. It is clearly stated in our Constitution that this country has no faith, yet, politicians have always spoken otherwise for their political gains. But what makes my heartache is that people of this beautiful country have now started supporting them blindly and get nothing in return. How these people with whom we have lived for ages have slowly started hating us is beyond me.
We may have achieved ‘Independence’ from the British rule, but we still aren’t free. We are still slaves of our narrow thinking; we are still slaves of poverty, we are still slaves of malnutrition, we are still slaves of casteism, we are slaves of misinformation through which even personalities like Pandit Nehru and Gandhi Ji can be presented as villains.
Female infanticide is still prevailing in the society. Rapes are increasing at an alarming rate, and no one seems to be bothered by it. We have forgotten the brutality happened with Nirbhaya. This government, which rose to the power promising equality and safety to women, has failed just like all the previous state and centre governments. ‘Sabka sath, sabka vikas’ is nowhere to be found on the ground. Now you tell me how I can call my country free?
When mob lynchings increase drastically, and the investigation starts on what is in our plate and refrigerator, then only a fool will call his country free. I disagree with the media, which depicts communalism as the new secularism. People still love each other and want to live together, but the way communalism has emerged is certainly worrying.
By 2020, we will be the most youthful country in the world and probably the most underemployed as well. We do not know our laws and legal system, and we don’t know what democracy really is. It’s high time when we start to learn about the ‘democratic ethics’ on which this great nation was built or else we won’t be having it real soon.
When I can live with a girl I love; when women can go out without fear; when people can speak without getting threats; when children will not die in hospitals, that is the day I will celebrate our freedom, but till then Happy Independence Day!