Let freedom ring

Let freedom ring

Tricolour flags dotting the roads, patriotic songs filling the air, the country is heralding yet another Independence Day in all its glory. As India enters its 69th year of Independence, it’s a time to look back into a glorious past and cherish the country’s progress. Though there is a lot to wake up to every morning, the path to tread is a long one and the challenges are many. There are pressing issues that need to be addressed and citizens are concerned.

On this Independence Day, some Bengalureans voice their concern on certain problems that have been left largely unaddressed. Kshitiz Goliya, a professional, says, “Independence Day is a time to improve on areas that were neglected, such as primary education and rural development. Though we have come a long way in terms of technological advancements, India’s laws and policies have to be shaped in a way so as to improve situations at a grass-root level. The results of freedom aren’t enjoyed by all.”  
  
However, Sowkhya Patil, an aspiring civil servant, has another view. As an NCC cadet, she takes pride in the fact that soldiers and freedom fighters had laid down their lives for the country.

Yet, she feels that the concept of Independence is only in letter and not in spirit. Bringing the concept of neo-colonialism today, she says, “The country may be free from colonial rule but it is not free from economic slavery. Third-world economies are submitting themselves as slaves to richer powers and this form of economic submission is a violation of our independence.”

Deepu, a final-year student from CMR Institute of Management Studies, hopes that policies on women’s safety, environment, child rights and abolition of child labour are given top priority.

“There are increasing instances of moral policing and intrusion of privacy in the City. Laws that cater to the crucible of society, which include children, women and the unorganised sector, are left in the lurch. India can’t call itself completely free until such schemes are developed.” 

There are those who say that although one is enjoying the fruits of liberty, sometimes freedom is at stake. The line between the right to offend and the right to express has not been clearly defined and this is a cause of concern for many filmmakers like Sandeep. Sandeep, who is currently working as an assistant director and a film-maker, hopes that the issue of censorship is dealt with care as the past year has seen bans and curtailing of rights on social media.

“Artistes, especially filmmakers, suffer a lot in the regional industry because of censorship. The rules that the censor committee has laid down are very tight and this curbs freedom of expression. If a film receives an ‘A’ certificate from the censor board, it doesn’t receive a subsidy from the government and this affects the film-maker.”

It is interesting to note that independence manifests itself in a different form in the realm of sports too. Khalin Joshi, a golfer, rues that many in the sporting fraternity are not free to choose their goals because of the cricket-centric approach. This Independence Day, he wishes that other sports receive as much recognition as cricket.

The hopes are many and the dreams are unlimited. There is always the anticipation of living a better life in a self-sufficient nation.

PeeVee, an artist entrepreneur, echoes this thought. He hopes to see a decline in rural and urban divide so that there is an equitable distribution of resources.

He says, “There are many people who still don’t have basic facilities such as access to water and shelter. We can’t call a country free if its citizens don’t feel safe and have access to such facilities. A healthy lifestyle for every citizen must be in place.”

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