Independence? What it means for me

By Poojita Chand

What is independence? I have often wondered. Independence, for me, is the freedom to be who I am and freedom to actualize infinite possibilities in me.  As India turns 75 on August 15 this year, it is time to celebrate and rejoice, but also to reflect on the true meaning of independence and freedom. As a nation we have a lot to be proud of – India is the world’s fifth largest economy and is widely seen as a rising power, but how can I be free and how can you be free when half of our population dwells in the slums of poverty? I will say I am truly free when every single citizen of my country is free from hunger – not deprived of two square meals a day. I will feel I am truly free when a woman isn’t assaulted every 15 minutes in our country, where health care is not determined by socio-economic status, where every religion is cherished, where every Indian breathes clean air. A country can never be genuinely free where nearly half of its population is illiterate. Let’s not forget knowledge is freedom.

In the world we live in, freedom is a luxury rather than a fundamental right; so be proud of being in an independent country which is scaling new heights, but don’t let the love for your country blind you to its many shortcomings. And, also don’t let these flaws to despise your country and forget about its numerous achievements.

As a country, we have come a long way, but we have even a longer journey ahead of us. We should buckle up our seat belts for a bumpy and challenging ride – we will come across everything from flower gardens to thunderstorms on the way. We will survive, but only on one condition: one shall never leave the car, never fight with your own members and don’t let the driver make you fight. In this unordinary journey it will not only depend on the driver to drop you home safely but all of the passengers will be equally responsible. You leave the car, you die! You don’t get to blame the driver for your death in heaven and you certainly will not have to go to heaven in the first place if you keep in mind these rules of the road.

One day when we will be long gone, our coming generations will witness a the flowering of an ideal country we all can be proud of; not a perfect one and never a perfect one as no nation is perfect. We will never be short of difficulties to encounter but that’s what unites us; even after such great hurdles we stand together, with a visible glow and radiance of pride in our eyes when we describe ourselves as ‘Indians’. Happy Independence Day, Jai Hind!

(Poojita Chand is a Class XI student, DPS, Mathura Road)

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