The year was 1947. The year we Indian nationals wrested the rein of administration from foreign rule. Our men and women, irrespective of caste, creed or community, stood shoulder to shoulder resisting the alien domination. Some were scarified on the altar of the freedom struggle. Many were jailed. Many were tortured. The aliens tried to deny Indians freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of press, freedom of assembly etc. Their cruel opposition or their guns and arsenals did not deter our people from their determination for self rule.
What we have been enjoying so far is the fruit of their labour and sacrifice. We moulded our own constitution. We made it our sacred book. This sacred book guaranteed to every citizen fundamental freedoms and rights so that our self-rule will be peaceful, humanitarian and egalitarian.
Once again, on August 15, we shall remind ourselves the historic struggle for freedom and that great day of independence. But, we shall also ask ourselves how free are we today? There are some pertinent questions emerging from different corners of the nation. If foreign exploitation has ended, has it not raised its ugly head in many different native forms of exploitation? Child labour, denial of women their rights, corruption, captain domination and capital accumulation in the hands of a few, poverty and illiteracy, dishonest and self-centred politicians, power hungry leaders (brown sahebs) etc.
Today, in 2017, we have every right to worry about the state of the nation. Are we really free? Isn’t the nation sliding fast down into the hands of fascist rulers and leaders? Are not the so-called nationalist sentiments peddled by the Rashtravadis who push the nation to the brink of national disintegration? Why are the minority religious communities feeling terrorised by vigilante groups unleashing terror on them. Why are violent Gestapo style extra-constitutional forces taking law in to their hands and go scot-free for their murder, rape, loot, terror and the like?
Why are we dictated to as to what to eat, what to speak, whom to converse with, whom to marry, whom to travel with? Why are we citizens becoming the ruling party’s property by being branded with a national identity card (Aadhar) which is needed for getting ration, getting admission to schools and colleges, to open a bank account, to make a phone call, and the like? The absurdity of it all is that the citizen’s privacy is being stored in the government’s secret chambers from where the ‘Big Brother’ can watch and monitor your every movement or utterance. This is police raj. This is fascist regime like that of Hitler.
The way unnecessary restrictions and regulations are clamped on religious minorities and their institutions only shows that the nation is being upgraded to a majoritarian religion-based single nation theory. Hitler’s pure Aryan blood ended up in his elimination of the Jews through murder rape, or burning them in gas chambers. Today, in India people are told, ‘Sing our tune, raise our slogans or get the hell out of India.’ Our worshipping places are destroyed. Innocent people are lynched in public gaze or hanged in public like what the Talibans do.
Many sensible people ask: Why are our objective history books converted into subjective and mythological narratives? Why feed people with mythology? Why the names of national heroes not belonging to majority communities are being eliminated from history books or school/college text books? The effort to paint India saffron is on.
Why the indigenous people are told that they are Hindus and their DNA is that of the Aryan Hindu? Unhistorical and unscientific stories are being peddled around as eternal truths. By distorting history and propounding lies some want to establish that the Aryans are the real Indians and their DNS is that of every Indian.
Is this the India of the dreams of our forefathers and those who shed their blood for our nation’s freedom? Shall we allow India’s hard-won freedom be traded by fascist-oriented politicians and pundit-turned netajis? Never! We Indians need to think and act so that all of us Indians feel free as belonging to a free nation. We need to grab back our unity as one nation respecting the diversity of religion or community. We need to get our freedom of expression restored. We need to get more space for our growth and development away from corruption and self-centred politicians. We need to feel safe in this land without which there is no freedom.