India will celebrate its 70th Independence Day in seven days and it makes us wonder the many freedoms we desperately need in order to be free from the shackles of societal evils that threaten to muffle our voice and kill our rights.
Today, we demand certain freedoms because life, as we know it, has become way too complicated.
1. Freedom from cyber-bullying
If anyone has any confusion as to what online bullying refers to, it means the suppression of your dignity by anyone who has been given the freedom of speech. Is one freedom supposed to snatch away another?
Hell, no! Stricter governance, airtight laws, and basic sensitisation are required to fight the menace of cyber-bullying. Because when it goes too far, it ends up ending a life.
2. Freedom from selfies
Already hundreds have fallen into rivers and run over by trains while trying to click themselves. Incidents such as these have already made India a nation with the highest number of selfie deaths in the world. That’s something we should be least proud of.
What we should beam about is our self-worth which a selfie can in no way capture.
3. Freedom to display affection publicly
India, it seems, will forever remain averse to PDA. Kissing, hugging, and even hand-holding are frowned upon by uncles and aunties, by rickshaw-wallas and auto drivers. Why? Because it’s not abusing. It’s not lynching. It’s moral corruption of our society at large.
God save us if we express our affection to a fellow human! That will be the end of humanity altogether.
4. Freedom from body-shaming
Let’s be clear about it – body shaming is one of the worst forms of abusing someone’s freedom to be alive. Apart from blowing our self-esteem to bits, it fosters a culture where our nation is seen as one that is intolerant toward how others choose their lifestyle. Who are we to judge what others eat or wear?
People can balloon up or shrink down – it’s entirely their prerogative. By constantly mocking or humiliating others, we expose ourselves as incapable of acceptance and love.
5. Freedom from gender policing
Men and women are expected to function according to the diktats that rule their gender. Men shouldn’t cry and women shouldn’t wear jeans. Gender policing is harmful not only to the individual but to the society at large.
Women are conquering the realms of corporate world and men are taking paternity leave to take care of their children. Stereotypes are being broken. Accept that, society!
6. Freedom from misandry
There’s no denying that India is becoming more and more unsafe for women. But that doesn’t mean that all men must be blamed. Not all men are stalkers and rapists. Honourable men do exist who know better than to outrage a woman’s modesty.
But male-bashing in the name of feminism is another thing we demand freedom from. It’s not a battle between men and women. It’s a fight for women’s safety and bringing every perpetrator of a crime to justice.
7. Freedom of identity
Similar to how we crave to carve our own identity in the world – as a musician or a writer – homosexuals are fighting to win theirs when it’s a fight that should have never even started. They are as normal as any heterosexual. They are not an outcast. Their identity is certainly not a disease.
And those supporting their homosexual friends, in their fight to be identified, should be allowed to do so without any ground rules or threats. It’s a freedom of dignified existence that we demand.
8. Freedom of religion
Despite being a fundamental right, this is perhaps the most controversial freedom in India. Being proud of the religion we call our own doesn’t warrant killings in the name of the religion our neighbour follows. If we can hope for others to respect our religion, it’s our duty to extend the favour.
Because it’s simply not our business to meddle in someone else’s beliefs and force upon them what we uphold. Because then that simply makes us unpatriotic.
9. Freedom from justifications
A woman gets raped, she must have worn a skirt. A man supports Pakistan in a cricket match, he must be an ‘anti-national’. We are so quick to justify a situation, we often forget to see how blinded our mind’s eye is.
Justifying situations such as these, which really don’t need any justification, only goes to curb the freedom of individualism. (By the way, supporting Pakistan in a cricket match is no big deal!)
10. Freedom from mansplaining
Again, not all men are guilty here. When a man ‘mansplains’ something to a woman, he speaks over her. He interrupts her on something she may already be an expert at. A man functions on the assumption that he knows more than the women he mansplains. He thinks that they are ignorant and come without any knowledge.
Freedom from mansplaining, therefore, needs to be demanded now, tomorrow, and every day thereafter.
11. Freedom to express humour
We are literally standing on the edge of the cliff that will break as soon as someone cracks another joke. Remember AIB Roast, anyone? It was followed by numerous FIRs simply because the nation had lost its ability to laugh at humour.
Indians are not serious, uptight beings. They are carefree and love to joke. Then why are we hell bent on killing this aspect of our freedom of expression when it’s so harmless, it only tickles our funny bone?
12. Freedom to choose a career
Everyone needs to take a chill pill – parents, aunties, uncles, drivers, everyone! India’s obsession with medical and engineering is unfaltering but that doesn’t call for ruining a child’s future simply because he/she wants to become a nurse or a video producer.
Career options, nowadays, add up to more than what this year is called. The world’s growing, why must we stop our children or siblings from pursuing what their heart desires?
13. Freedom from slut-shaming
If a celebrity posts photos of herself breastfeeding her baby, she will most often than not get slut-shamed on social media for reasons varying from vulgarity to attention-seeking. Hence, there’s no shame in demanding freedom from those who choose to see the perverse in something so beautiful.
The Libertarian Republic
People who cross the line need to get in line. Their filth is something that all of us can do without.
14. Freedom of speech
Here’s another fundamental right which goes ‘poof!’ within seconds because of intolerance. People outraging at Sonu Nigam for his tweet on azaan was a testament to how this freedom was manipulated and will continue to get misconstrued at every step of the way.
We crib and complain every day about things we dislike. Then why lose our marbles when someone points out what annoys them?
15. Freedom to be
An all-encompassing freedom, this one affects all aspects of our life – be it at home or outside or in the workplace. It’s a freedom that knows no harassment, outraging or shaming. It’s a right that was awarded to us the moment we took birth.
It’s a freedom we should never have to plead for.
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