Hang on. Did the title say ‘illusion’? Freedom is, of course, a reality. We live in a free and sovereign democratic country. We all have the right to freedom, freedom of speech, and enjoy every possible notion of freedom. Or, do we?
Indian constitution 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 gave us but, many times, some incidents occur and all my hopes are shattered. I start wondering if we really have any rights and if all the talk, about using one’s rights, is nothing but an illusion.
Last week, we saw the strike of the traders in our state against the proposed rules in the Food Safety Act. Whether the law is beneficial or harmful is a topic of debate, but one thing is crystal clear that the strike was totally immoral. The people leading the strike said that it was not obligatory and they just ‘appealed’ to the shopkeepers to support them. If that was the case, then why the two shopkeepers, who refused to close their shops, were shot? If it was just an appeal, then why people spilled about 15000 liters of milk from the milkmen who tried to do their daily chore? Why the Reliance fresh and other shops, which tried to help the common man, were destroyed?That was something evil! I mean who the hell gave these people the right to do this! In fact, who are they to decide about others? Where did the right to freedom disappear? Just imagine the condition of the 63-year old lady whose only source of income was to supply Sanchi milk pouches in the neighborhood, when demonstrators spilled the milk of each and every pouch on the roads. And it’s not the only case where the 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. Our constitution gives every citizen the right to freedom of speech and expression and no one can deprive us of that. Every author or director has a right to express his/her views and they can be wrong in some cases. Similarly, everyone has the right to disagree with their views but, let me put it very clearly, no one has the right to damage the books/movies or interfere with the publishing! Any attempt to ban the books/movies is almost as futile as King Canute ordering the waves to turn back!Moreover, many times people also have to suffer because they tried to bring a change and didn’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. He called a spade a spade and clearly expressed his views. But what was the result?Ultimately, he had to resign and the fare hikes were also canceled.
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. When someone talks about religion, all religious groups become the judge for deciding one’s character and morality. Children don’t get to express their views about their careers and girls don’t have a say in deciding their life partners!
If there was no meaning of these rights, then why the constitution gave them to us? Because they are the proof of a democracy. These rights separate a democracy from a dictatorship. All I have to say is we must do everything possible to protect our rights and exercise them. We can’t pass the blame on the government if we ourselves remain ignorant about this. For the functioning of a democracy, it’s obligatory that all the citizens are able to exercise their rights. And if we are deprived of our right to freedom, then we would surely lose our other rights too, leading to the fall of the democracy!
I hope people will become more aware of their rights and the ‘accused’ people will also understand the importance of the right to freedom and will improve. After all, there are some kinds of hope which help keep us alive!