Freedom is defined as being in any state free from bondage or intervention of any sort. Freedom is the principle requisite of a healthy society. No man can flourish to the fullness of his abilities unless he is given freedom physically and mentally. It is one of the most noble of thoughts that has ever stirred mankind.
What is the true meaning of being free?
Although it seems quite obvious, freedom is very important – not the freedom that we think we know, but freedom in its true sense of term. We as humans do not value freedom and either misinterpret it or take it for granted.
To be free is to be not bound by any external judgment that prevents us to execute the likes of our will. When one is free, he is the strongest; he has no weaknesses or nothing with which he can be manipulated.
In the ‘Four Freedom Speech’ delivered by the former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt said that there should be four basic freedoms guaranteed to each individual in the world:
- Freedom of Speech – To speak freely and to propagate our thoughts and expression without anyone’s approval or intervention.
- Freedom of Worship – To practice and propagate our own religious and metaphysical beliefs free from any kind of bondage or mental manipulation.
- Freedom from Want – This is by far one of the most important of all freedoms. Roosevelt believed that a world free from want and poverty will have attained development in the true sense of term.
- Freedom from Fear – To be free from any sort of manipulation on grounds of the others’ might.
Our country too grants us certain undeniable freedoms as laid down in the Constitution of India under the Fundamental rights (Article 19) which were made just after the attainment of freedom from the British rule:
- Right to Equality – Which grants us equal status as any other citizen of India irrespective of religious beliefs, caste, creed, ethnicity, skin colour, etc.
- Right to Freedom – No one shall be bound by any means to anyone in a way that hinders the basic human rights and the principles of natural justice.
- Right against Exploitation – No one shall be subject to exploitation of any form.
- Right to Freedom of Religion – Every citizen of India shall have equal rights to practice and propagate their own religion without being bonded to any external rules or intervention, but it should be under the ambit of certain guidelines and the principles of natural justice.
- Cultural and Educational Rights – Every individual is to be given free and fair opportunities of basic education.
- Right to Constitutional Remedies – This ensures that every citizen can appeal against the infringement of their fundamental rights that have been denied to them. Article 32 guarantees such remedies in the form of Fundamental right itself. If any man appeals to the court for the safeguard of his rights, the court is empowered to issue writs for the maintenance of such interests, if there is such a violation of fundamental right of that individual in the eyes of the court ( because it is the Supreme Court who has the soul right to interpret the Constitution).
India was a colony of the British Empire and for almost two hundred years, faced tremendous lashing of white supremacy. Freedom was not given to us in a platter. We had to fight hard for it. It had to be snatched. Every nail in the coffin of the British rule was a tale of indomitable spirit and streams of innocent Indian blood.
Only thing that can progress in bondage is more bondage. No country can ever attain its true potential unless the light of freedom dawns upon them. No one is born bonded, just as the famous revolutionary freedom fighter, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak said,
“Freedom is my birth right, and I shall have it” by Lokmanya Tilak
However, to be free doesn’t not mean that we can do whatever we want even if it is harmful to the interests of other people. A man cannot mistake liberty for license. Freedom has to go on with certain bounds. It shall have to work within the ambit of certain rules – rules which the society and its individual members themselves make and prescribe. One cannot murder somebody only because one wants to do it or if the other one is not acting to his liking.
One cannot simply commit a theft in somebody’s house out of his free will. If he does so, law is there to take its own course and he shall be bound by law. Therefore in trying to indulge in freedom, one will have to take into consideration the freedom guaranteed to others and it is this consideration from where this limit to freedom starts.
India became free on 15th August, 1947, overthrowing almost two hundred years of treacherous and tactful British rule. However soon after, we formed a constituent assembly to frame rules to bind us all again. The most important point and the point of greatest consequence here is that we, as human beings, cannot exist without responsibilities, in whatever field we be, in whatever space we might work.
There would be limits and limits at every step which cannot be crossed with impunity. Just like everything in the world, freedom too, cannot be taken at face value. Freedom with certain regulations can only result in a peaceful and prosperous tomorrow with a destiny so bright that even the sun would be overshadowed.
So bright shall be the gleam of freedom that it will be the brightest of all lights and mightiest of all forces leading us into a tomorrow, which doesn’t bind us by walls of mental narrowness, by thoughts of orthodox past, by pressure of the ones beside us, or by the fear of the One above us. Then only we shall be living in a time, “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high” just like our Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore pictured it in his writings.