Happy Independence Day! That probably is the most uttered greeting in India. So I thought long and hard about it. It dawned on me that freedom is a polygamous term; it is married to multiple concepts.
While independence indicates freedom from a force, to the common man, it means different things at different times. Freedom is a free idea with several connotations. Here’s a slice of what freedom means to different people…
Wily politician: the power to misuse public money for personal use.
Troubled teenager: the money and time to indulge drugs and other mannerisms that goes with her/ his choice of music.
Sportsperson: a victory that is supreme in her/ his genre of the game.
Naughty child: that little escape from watchful eyes to be able to paint the walls or dirty the floors.
Fanatic: free will to play down other religions and propagate obsessions.
Speaker: Freedom of speech in slander.
Parent: when a child gets self-reliant and responsible.
Writer: Freedom of expression through writing in libel.
School-going student: the dream to purchase a homework-totting robot.
Racist: to shoot down anybody who is not the same breed in his/ her rat race.
Battered housewife: relief in the absence of her alcoholic abusive husband.
Film star: the privacy to be able to stay from the glitz and glamour.
Adulterous spouse: time away from the legal partner to make a call or send an SMS.
Daily help: a day’s off from the grime and dirt of routine cleaning.
Cell-phone user: victory from add-on bills and unsolicited calls.
Chronic asthmatic: to breathe easy in a pollen-free environment during warmer seasons.
Artiste: creative energy to depict the pinnacle of imagination —nudity or mythology.
Night-soil scavenger: to move on from collecting human excreta and clear garbage instead.
Salaried person: the relief to binge on the little left after disbursing the monthly salary.
Acid-attack victim: a surgery to remove the physical scars and enforce that law to punish the perpetrator.
Homemaker: the opportunity to move out of cooking, cleaning and caring completely.
Employed: to escape work or a difficult boss.
Harassed co-worker: when an impossible colleague leaves for a better opportunity.
Loan payee: a dip in interest rates or the end of a loan payment season.
Obese person: to be able to exercise, diet and shed those extra kilos.
Divorcee: the taste of self at the end of a long-drawn court case.
Bonded labourer: media coverage that will help see that long-evading daylight.
Civil servant: retirement, when he/she can tell their version of events or simply the truth.
Patient: relief from pains and cost of treatment.
Spiritual devotee: break from material comforts and to find the true meaning in scriptures.Free person: finding ways out of newer mental perceptions of imposition.Human being: true freedom is ultimately in death — peaceful or otherwise.Believe me, my freedom ends where yours begins and vice-versa. Whether you hear Bob Marley, Akon or Michael W Smith’s version of freedom, the difference is in what you listen to in these sounds of liberty.
Whatever it maybe, let’s raise a toast to free India.
The writer works for Postnoon.