The Misinterpretation & Misuse of Freedom in India: Civil Services Mentor Magazine February 2013


India has enjoyed freedom over the last sixty four years, but
has it actually savored it. It has come a long way since 1947. Political,
judicial and administrative systems have all undergone drastic transformations.
However, the only difference is that these transformations were more of a step
forward and two backwards, making the progress complicated. If good things
happened, they came at some price and so did freedom. Freedom meant a sense of
responsibility, which unfortunately could not be displayed by its inhabitants.
Hence, the country gave us everything, but in return asked for its price. The
country gave freedom to its citizens and constantly reminded them of the price
associated with it.

Freedom can be summarized as, “the Sequence of Setting Free
of Multiple Domains into Motion”. Freedom means to excel and move on. But,
unfortunately freedom is one of the most misinterpreted, misunderstood and
misused word in English language. Freedom in most of the cases is interpreted or
compared with irregularities in lifestyle. People think freedom means “Free from
All”, that is, free from work, culture, tradition, nationality and in some
instances enlightenment and total liberation from life. Above all what they
never think of is that, freedom is nothing but ultimate responsibility in life.

In some instances in Indian society, people often
misinterpret freedom as women equality. Some also raise their voice stating that
women are being treated as donkeys, working both at office as well as home. But,
they often tend to forget that Indian society has provided not equal, but higher
rights to women than men. If one digs into the details, you can find that the
responsibility of building a strong family and bond between its members have
been placed on women’s shoulders, which is a stepping stone towards building a
strong society and nation.

Women have given this responsibility because, they are more
emotionally connected than men and their heart rules over the mind which is an
essential ingredient to build a lovely family and society. For example, Mother
Teresa was able work for the ailment for poor and diseased and thus with respect
and love people called her Mother. There are many men who worked for ailment and
betterment of society, for freedom. But, none are associated with the ailment
and betterment of the poor and diseased in such a large scale. There is a common
thought in India that a girl goes to husband’s house after marriage and servers
her in-laws, but men do not have to come across this torture, share the burden
or perform daily chores. But, the answer is in the society itself. In some parts
of Karnataka state, especially among Tulu speaking community, there is a custom
wherein the boy goes to wife’s house and looks after his in-laws. This is
popularly known as Aliya Santana. There was also a matrilineal system followed
in royal families of ancient Tulu Nadu. Rani Abbakka Devi of Ullala is an
example provided by the history of India. She was the direct female heir to the
throne of Ullala from where she ruled her kingdom and fought with the Portuguese
for four decades. She is also regarded as the first woman freedom fighter of

Freedom is neither in misconceptualizing equality nor in
fighting for over-freeness to visit pub, bar or in the name of socialization
having free sex and corrupting the whole community or society by increasing the
number of HIV AIDS infected population. Freedom is in understanding of duty and
responsibility. The fundamental rights might be there, but its usage always
carries “at your own risk” tag. If right to equality says no to discrimination
based on caste, creed, religion and sex, then there are a few states which have
gone ahead and ruined the sanctity of this statement. They proudly discriminated
people based on native state and language. Hindi, officially our national
language is still looked down upon when spoken in a few states. People ranging
from common man to ministers are mercilessly beaten by the self-proclaimed local
godfathers and their henchmen for either speaking in Hindi or from hailing from
a different state.

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