As Indians, diverse in our culture and heritage, one of the very few things that unite us is the pride we have in our hard-earned freedom. 26th January – Republic Day is a symbol of how we have our own constitution to govern the nation. 15th August brings with it the euphoria of living without the shackles of oppression by an alien civilization. But in all this joy and pride, what is ironic is how India seeks the confines of their houses against terrorism?
Festivals, in general, are about enjoying, venturing out. And then these national celebrations are to remind us of the freedom we have. Even then we fear about going out and enjoying the free air. We have an established constitution, but sometimes we manipulate it to suit our benefits. Is this the freedom we celebrate?
How many Delhites, set out to watch the parade on Rajpath or listen to the speech at the Red Fort? How many bravely ventured on the roads travelling through the busy, crowded places to rejoice with everyone? How many citizens across the nation decided to shop on D-day, with Republic and Independence Sale in full force? How many family members do not stop you from going out even to the college throughout the week? The answers to all would be very few.
Delhi turns Fortress!
Talking about New Delhi, the capital of India specifically, witnesses every year without fail, alerts from the police department to be cautious. Multi-layered security is put into place, there are elaborate traffic restrictions, barricading at major checkpoints, lots of security personnel deployed across busy, high alert places. And the same city has events held on the most massive scale. Everybody lives in the fear of a bomb blast or shootouts. The freedom that we boast about is almost like a paralysed man under ventilation for this period of 10-15 days – with restricted movements and robotic care.
Not Just Movement!
Restriction on movement is just one aspect which every single person experiences. Further, sometimes the mobile signals are jammed as well. On a day of the celebration, curbing this communication medium is another loss of freedom the citizens face. On a broader level, freedom of expression is the issue at hand. There are prohibitions on what we talk, what we watch and even what we are eating, even after 67 years of independence. Each day of celebration should be an endeavour to achieve some new rights and freedom until the next such day arrives.
Questions and Hopes!
So, the only question which crosses my mind every six months as we celebrate 26th January and 15th August is that when everybody fears to get out of their houses at the time of national celebrations, is it a real celebration? With this question, I also respect the fact that we are living in a panic free environment and enjoying the freedom our fathers and forefathers have fought for.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.