Youth defines freedom differently this Independence Day

    By Shradha Chettri, IANS,

    New Delhi: “I want the freedom to wander around safely without being questioned, the freedom to go anywhere to do anything, and not being stopped for being a girl” says Esha Kapoor, a German honours student at Delhi University.

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    Similarly rang the voices of many students, who thought it was not worth celebrating India’s 67th Independence Day when one gender of the population is still gripped by fear and has no security.

    “If we have no right to go anywhere freely and it is only fear that we have in our minds, what Independence Day, what freedom?” law faculty student Jyoti asked in anger while speaking to IANS.

    Teressa Josmine, an English student at the arts faculty, told IANS: “Freedom for me is to be accepted the way I am and to be freed from all crimes and sufferings.”

    Today’s youth – the future workforce – feels that freedom granted to the country is mere tokenism and that much more needs to be done.

    “In our country, it is very difficult to define freedom, but for me it is cultural freedom that I want; the right to independently follow my culture without any fear and interference,” said Akhilesh Mishra, a student of Buddhist studies from Uttar Pradesh.

    Bipin Tiwari, a Hindi student at Jamia Millia Islamia, said freedom only meant political freedom. “We have the freedom given by the constitution, but then it is only in written form. The thing I aspire for is being free from the corrupt political culture which has been framing innocent IAS officer like Durga Shakti Nagpal and many more.”

    Aarushi Punia, an English honours student at Jesus and Mary College, said: “When we look at the different kinds of freedom that people are asking for, it is right there is no physical colonisation, but intellectual and capitalist colonisation still exists and so we have to get rid of this.”

    Siddharth Chakroborty, a political science student of Hindu College, mockingly said: “This Independence Day if the country can give me fresh air to breathe, and air free of pollution, then my freedom is achieved.”

    While most of youth demanded freedom in the larger context, for some freedom meant being unshackled from their families and the people around them.

    “For me freedom is to be able to do anything, especially being free from family and other bondage, so that I can get closer to my dream,” said Balram Singh, a 19-year-old from Uttar Pradesh at the Jamia Millia Islamia.

    Echoing this, Rinan Shah of Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences told IANS on the phone: “Freedom for me is no encroachment, not being answerable to anyone.”

    “Freedom is when your mind is without fear, when one is in control of one’s actions intellectually, spiritually and emotionally without being bound by societal constraints,” felt IAS aspirant Naresh Chhetri.

    For some, freedom was a state of mind and for others, it was a journey.

    “Freedom to me is a state of mind that enables you to display responsibility and exercise sovereignty,” management graduate Gunjan Pradhan said.

    Nikhil Sharda of the e-fiction India portal differed, saying: “Freedom is not a state of being, it is more of the journey. With each station, we shed freedom from something, either from being a prisoner of habit or of behaviour or certain other traits.”

    (Shradha Chettri can be contacted at [email protected])