— Written By Chandan Shubham
Imprisoned in a gold cage or unconditional freedom! If these two options are in front, what will you choose?
Freedom, of course! The fundamental need of human life and a birthright as believed and professed by Lokmanya Tilak. Freedom to dream and freedom to fulfill them. Independent individuals make an independent society which in turn makes an independent nation.
How did we as a nation rose against the mighty British Empire and dare ask nothing less than Poorna swaraj? It took decades of groundwork to prepare us for that rebellion and to spread the zeal of freedom to the hearts of every Indian.
While Raja Rammohun Roy, Savitribai Phule fought for the basic rights and empowerment of women, Surendranath Bose advocated for equal rights of Indians in government services. While Tilak, through Ganpati and Shivaji festivals gave a call to our conscience, Vivekananda introduced us with our glorious past. Where leaders like Jyotiba Phule took up the cause of the Dalits, Surendranath Banerjee taught the youth to rise and organize for their rights. Similarly, when hundreds and thousands such intellectuals got millions of Indians liberated from mental slavery throughout the country, then we could stand up together and took a pledge to free our nation from shackles of slavery.
This gave birth to a whole new line of great leaders like Bose, Gandhi, Ambedkar and many more who did not only lead India on the path of independence but also presented such unique examples of strength and intellect which continue to inspire and teach the forthcoming generations. And today, when we celebrate the 72nd anniversary of our independence, India’s top leadership and public spirit reflect the ideals and values of those great leaders. On this day, we dream of the emancipation and independence of every section of society who together build this great nation. That the poor be free from poverty, women be free from domestic and social subordination, weak be free from exploitation and every individual be free in words and spirit.
The youth of this country be free to follow their dreams and fulfill their ambitions. As the youth of this country, we should remember not only our Rights but also our Responsibilities because the condition and direction of the youth determines the future of the nation, so it is very important that we properly asses and analyse our direction.
I am specifically addressing to the fresh college students now who have just got out of schools and started a new life in colleges. Coming out of homes and schools and starting this new life is like new found freedom for most of you. Most of you will experience this world by stepping out of the home environment for the first time. And as much freedom as these changes have brought for you, they have brought equally new responsibilities. The right to take every decisions on your own, from all form of conducts to thoughts and opinions, is a big responsibility in itself.
Individual expression of freedom manifests in image of a nation and individual ethical conducts forms the basis of Social and National ethical values. Freedom is not just about freedom to have fun or freedom from being watched and monitored. Rather it should be about Intellectual growth too. Freedom to take initiative, to gain success in those initiative and to fail, to learn from those successes and failures and using them further to take new initiatives. We have not seen the struggles before freedom which our forefathers had to face but it is us on who lies the future of India and its more important now to liberate the consciousness of people when we are free and responsible for our own fate.
It is time for young Indians to honor the essence of freedom and more importantly, live it! While, a lot has been talked about individual freedom and responsibility what’s equally important is mentorship. A mentor as a Professor, a Senior, a friend or a sibling can actually guide through the process of individual development. While firsthand experience can be really crucial some times, a word of caution from someone experienced can be really helpful.
Another crucial aspect of India’s bright future is the mental health of its individuals. Mental health is our emotional, social and psychological well being. Mental health though crucial at every stage of life is specially important through adolescence to adulthood as youth who today is laden with so many responsibilities forgets to take care of themselves which at times may take a toll on their mental health resulting in loneliness, anxiety or depression. False sense of strength or inferiority complex may prevent them from asking for help. Mentorship can also tackle this to some extent but what’s really important is to be more aware as a society about mental health and to be empathetic and compassionate as an individual to be able to feel other’s pain and help them out in need which will essentially make us a better human and together as a better nation, A better India.