India achieved independence after a long freedom struggle. All sections of the society participated in the freedom movement and made numerous sacrifices. The freedom movement itself is a saga of sacrifices in which everyone rose up against the imperialist ruler, breaking the shackles of their religious, ethnic and provincial identity. People had a dream that after independence, democracy will prevail and they will have their own rule. That self-rule will help them in getting rid of illiteracy, misery, poverty, and all Indians will build a country of equal respect and dignity.
The meaning of freedom for the people was that India would be a country where freedom of equality is enjoyed in its true sense, no one will be the ruler, no one will be ruled, fair and equal opportunity for everyone. Their dream of equality was not only in political terms, but also to secure social and economic equality for everyone without discrimination.
After independence, Indian constitution laid a foundation to realise these dreams of the people and ensure equal rights to all citizens. The constitution has provided for the right to equality before the law, freedom of speech and expression for all, freedom to practice any religion and culture, freedom of peaceful protest, and constitutional remedies to secure civil rights. Today, when Indian people are celebrating Independence Day, when there is a strong wave of nationalism everywhere, some people may feel it anti-national to think logically about the significance and understanding of freedom. But this question cannot be ignored in the present times.
If one asks a question to the government or tries to question its policies, one becomes a traitor.
This is independent India and its democracy has bestowed us the right and also a constitutional responsibility to review the work of their elected government and ask questions. The present government has created a strange situation that the biggest threat to the freedom of the citizens has come from this majoritarianism masked as nationalism. Freedom does not mean just to follow the diktats of the elected government, but to hold it accountable even when it is supposedly discharging its duties diligently.
So, it is responsibility to celebrate this Independence Day with passion because it is our freedom, we have earned it after many sacrifices, but they need to remember that the freedom of the country means freedom of the people. When people are dying in poverty, shackles of casteism and patriarchy still enslave our society, then the celebration of freedom sounds incomplete and meaningless.
While celebrating independence, their forehead will be held high, but at the same time they must also decide that it is their collective responsibility to protect this freedom and dedicate this freedom to the people of independent India.