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The Illusion Of Freedom

By Manas Barpande

Hang on. Did the title say ‘illusion’..? Off course freedom is a reality. We live in a free and sovereign democratic country. We all have right to freedom, freedom of speech and enjoy every possible notion of freedom. Or, do we..??

The Constitution of India provides seven fundamental rights to every citizen, the most important being, The Right to Freedom.

I have complete faith in the democratic structure of our country and in the rights which constitution gives us, but many a times, incidents occur that shatter all my hopes. I start wondering if we really have any rights or if it is all an illusion.

Only last week, we witnessed the strike of the traders in our state against the proposed rules in the Food Safety Act. The agitators said that it was not obligatory and they just ‘appealed’ to the shopkeepers to support them. If that was the case, then why were the two shopkeepers, who refused to close their shops, were shot..? If it was just an appeal, then why were about 15000 litres of milk spilt ?? The sufferers were ordinary milkmen who were only going about their daily chore..?? Why were daily needs shops and stores like reliance fresh vandalized??

True, we have rights I mean. But who gives people the right to act in the above mentioned ways?? Who are they to decide about the others?? Aren’t they abusing our right to freedom..?? Just imagine the condition of the 63 year old lady, whose only source of income was to supply sanchi milk packets in the neighborhood, when demonstrators spilled the milk of each and every packet on the roads. And it’s not the only case where right to freedom is violated.

Another instance when I soliloquy about the ineffectiveness of our rights is, the controversy over a published book or a released movie. It’s so ironical that though our constitution gives every citizen the right to freedom of speech and expression, we still have such controversies. It’s true that opinions expressed by authors or movie makers can be incorrect or provocative sometimes, but isn’t it the duty of every citizen to make a rational decision in such a case..?? A blanket ban on such things on the other hand only reinforces the anti-freedom perception about the government. Any attempt to ban the books/movies is almost as futile as King Canute ordering the waves to turn back…!

Similarly many times people suffer because they are candid and don’t inhibit to speak their mind. Recently the railway minister Dinesh Trivedi announced the railway budget with some fare hikes, which were necessary for the improvement of the railways and to reduce the losses. But due to the tantrums of our ‘Didi’, he had to resign and the fare hikes were also cancelled.

When this could happen to a minister, you all can imagine what must be happening to the normal man.

On Valentine’s Day, the young generation suffers and some filthy people use ‘values’ and ‘traditions’ as the chains for hauling away their freedom. What about those ministers watching porn in the assembly..?? Those people are keeping very mum on that. When someone talks about religion, all religious groups become the judge for deciding one’s character and morality. At one place, children don’t get to express their views about their careers; at other, girls don’t have a say about their marriage.

If there was no meaning of these rights, then why the constitution did gave them to us? I’ll say because they are the proof of a democracy. These rights separate a democracy from a dictatorship. But if these rights are only to be exercised selectively i.e. when people in power benefit, much to the discomfort of the common man who is supposed to be protected under very same rights, what remains of the constitution..??

For us it’s just a bible that is slammed into our faces when we try to act on the contrary. For the world it’s a proof of us being a democracy.

I only hope people will become aware about this and the common man will be able to exercise his rights. After all there are some kinds of hope which help keep us alive..!!

I'm a second year student, pursuing B.Sc Biotechnology from MRSC,Indore. I'm a literature fiend and I love reading novels and writing articles and short stories.I write on my blog


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