On Independence Day, It’s Time to Ask: When Will We Really Be Free?

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On Independence Day, It’s Time to Ask: When Will We Really Be Free?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

I

t all began when Tilak thundered, “Swarajya is my birthright and I shall have it!” Of course, he got accused of sedition. Over a century later, a JNU student proclaimed he wanted azaadi. What do you know, he got slapped with a charge of sedition too. The point to be noted is that one wanted independence (swarajya), the other, freedom (azaadi). Both got something they didn’t ask for. But it’s a good day to ask and ponder, what is the difference between the two?

Simply put, freedom is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. That should mean being able to joke without defamation cases following. It means being able to write articles without death threats. It means being able to eat without lynchings. It means a lot of things that we currently don’t have. But then again, aren’t we one of the most free countries in the world?

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