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  • Writer's pictureAakansha Mahajan

In search of my personal freedom

“Independence is not doing your own thing, it is doing the right thing in your own way.” 

–Kim John Payne

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear, read or think about the word ‘independence’?

On 15th August, 2017, away from the blaring loud speakers and loop promos of patriotic movies on TV channels to commemorate our Independence Day, I was wondering about patriotism, independence, freedom and democracy and I could not resist the urge to ask everyone around me about their thoughts on independence and so I conducted a short survey on- “Are you independent?

Independence-people came up with various responses. For some, it came it out to be ‘sense of freedom’, for some it means ‘a day to remember our great national leaders’ and to many it is a ‘national holiday to be spent with friends and family’.

Yes it is, all of the above. But there is something deeper to think and evaluate and the moment is now.

Today, through this article, I would like to solicit each one of you reading this to think about the word ‘independence’ and then together do our bit towards achieving it. No number of folk performances, flag-hoisting events or one-day celebration will bring a change, definitely not. In fact, what change are we talking about? As individuals, are we independent? When I tried delving into the different kinds of independence (through the survey), I got to know various meanings of this term and the responses look like this (data from the survey):

As a whole, let us lead independent lives and contribute towards a better nation in our own ways.

What is the true meaning of independence?

The meaning of the word independence differs from individual to individual and every 15h August all of us talk about it in special ways. Hence I thought it would be a good idea to think (while filling the survey near 15th August), pause and re-think (now) about it when we are again buried and occupied in our own lives.

How do we celebrate 15th August-Independence Day?

As teachers and students, we are in the mid of month-long preparations to organize/make school events, a grand one. As employees we attend the two-hour program held on the office premises and some of the rest ensure to watch the live telecast of PM’s speech on Independence Day.

And then, the day continues at its own pace, not to forget the trending big sales announced online and at different shopping complexes. Trends also include theme parties where wearing the orange, white and green is a must, with fun games and tambola being the highlights of the meeting. No doubt, the spirit is high and every Indian feels proud and patriotic on this special day. That beaming feeling of pride is so heart-filling and genuine that it has the power to make great moves and thus contribute in the making of a better nation.

But what after that? Do we feel independent at an individual level? Are we free?

After sitting and reading the opinions of people for hours and collecting statistical data, I have learnt and enriched my meaning and understanding of ‘independence’. Hence, I would say that being independent means making your own way in the world.

To me-Independence is the power of imagination!

Independence for me is freedom. Freedom that satisfies your desire to become a stronger person and yet does not separate us from our values. It is a sense of individuality that empowers us to speak our minds and free ourselves from ignorance.

Independence means freedom for people to express themselves and to use that freedom to improve, learn and experience everyday living. Independence must not be used as an excuse to seize power.

For me, independence is pursuing a life of peaceful endeavours while being responsible for what we do. Yes, definitely, independence brings humongous responsibility with itself.

Independence for me is living life to the fullest. It is to enjoy little things and do your best every day of your life. It is about standing bold and strong.

Independence means making my own choices and taking responsibility of consequences of those choices. It is like your life is a clear and empty page where you have the choice to draw and color exactly what you want. Make it of your own choice.

Independence is not just personal but each individual step contributes to the nation.

Both independence and India start with the letter ‘I’. Hence, I as an individual have a crucial role to play.

Independence is the sum total of all the things happening in our lives and then our move towards the bigger goal. If we at our own levels work effectively then surely we will make a better nation. Until and unless, we ourselves become independent individuals, it won’t be right to say we are independent. Let us first be the change we wish to see in other!

We can and we will..!!

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