Tuesday, June 13, 2006

From Freedom to Justice.


When a person walks across the road, and meets someone, who is exactly behaving or even expressing his opinions in a similar fashion as what the person had already done before, he feels a sense of pride, a sense of company and immediately starts voicing his own opinions himself. He has this sense of courage and ownership as both of them become either common victims or the perpetrators.

Now, I had this same feeling of joy, when I started reading “The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian”, by Nirad C Chauduri. I haven’t completed the book yet and so will talk about it in a more elaborate manner later. But there were two things or rather sentences in it, which immediately grabbed my attention. Things which I’ve felt about and thought about, things which I’ve wondered about, like a child sitting on the sea shore and wondering, where it all ends.

First, there was this mention of how freedom, was fought for earnestly, how it was much yearned for, and yet, when it came, how we hadn’t learnt to respect it. I too had been wondering about the same for quite a long time. How much do we value our freedom ? What is freedom to us ?. When we read about the hardship faced by the gallant freedom fighters, we tremble with transient patriotism, yet have we really learned to respect our freedom and freedom of others.

Freedom, for us, is rather a very misunderstood term or it is piteously overlooked and as youth of the 21st century, we are yet to discern the sweetness of having our own free land. Or, in another way, we do not realize that we are free and take our day to day problems, to be an antithesis of the term ‘Freedom’. Like, let me take a simple example of a dream like thought which has stayed in my mind almost poetically. It is the 14th of August, 1947 and as India, celebrated it’s Independence, an old farmer in rural Andhra Pradesh woke up, amidst the noise of fireworks and realized he was free. He smiled. Then he looked at the dry fields, on which he had to work the next day to earn his daily bread, as usual. He frowned, and cursing the noise of fireworks, went back to sleep.

Even in these very modern times, there is slavery all around in different forms, so all of us are not free yet, maybe that is again one reason, why we still do not respect our freedom. Whatever, the case, thousands have perished in pursuit of freedom, of a better tomorrow, all over the world. Remembering them, respecting their struggle is, I believe one facet of freedom, which we shall cherish and respect, however.

Now, having read this, I kept going through the pages and pages of thoughts and experiences, highlighted in the book, when I stumbled upon this phrase. “Belief in the innate justice of society”, words, which immediately put a frown across my face. Where is justice in the society ? When I say justice, I am not talking about lawsuits, I am not talking about celebrity bashing or Jessica Lall. What about the sense of justice, each one of us, the common man needs to have. How many times have we witnessed fights and verbal duels while waiting to pay an electricity bill and when there’s a long queue. How many times, have we been witnesses to road accidents, just because people don’t believe that the traffic policeman on duty is just.

Recently I boarded a bus, in hyderabad to go to have my lunch on a weekend. At the time of getting down, I had already inched my way to the exit, with great difficulty. I was about to get down, when around six to seven people started boarding the bus, without allowing me to get down first. They kept pushing me back, with a deaf ear to my protests and at last, the bus also started moving and there, I was, all tired and angry. I ended up walking for an hour, to have some food at last.

Why is it that we don’t have that sense of justice inherent in us, so that we give space to others as well, to co-exist in harmony in this world.? It’s not that I am cribbing, about the difficulties of life as such, but trying to find an answer to the question above.


I had felt like shouting at those people. “ Don’t I have the freedom to get down first.?” Or even give a piece of my mind, quoting the age-old saying “ Your freedom ends, where my nose begins “, but I bit my lip. Who knows how they perceive freedom ? Who knows how much they respect their own freedom.
.
Freedom and justice are beautiful strong words, but what we lack is the knowledge as to how we must imbibe them as values in our lives.

37 comments:

Dew Drops said...

the book was into some controversies, rite? anyway, that is in my wish list. ur write up is a booster ;)

SCRIBBLEZ TO WAKEUP said...

Good One Srijith...Freedom is internal and external and in most cases the external n internal freedom are considered to be one...But they are not, they r like subscts...Exteranlly you wanted freedom for the counrty, internally you wanted freedom from so many other things that bother you, responsibilities, some sort of job but the truth is we cant achieve internal freedom unless we give up a lot....The thing about the bus incident.. it is always frustrating n I put my foot down n tell the people who r trying to enter in a solid voice "Let me out n then get in n they slowly file outside". Is it freedom tht u want or u want consideration n uwant to be considerate too when u r entering a bus...Ok me saying something n all but your perspectives we good..

Ajay said...

hey this is so true
god know when we will learn to respect freedom and appreciate that what we have .
must catch hold of d book

Srijith Unni said...

@dew drops : The book, I know to be critically acclaimed, but i`m not aware of any controversies as such. Glad to know that your interest has increased. It is a good book!, the eminent book lover that you are.. :), you must read it.

@Scribblez : Yes, I understand this point you are making about internal and external freedom. Internal freedom, is basically, i would say dependent on our attitude, whereas the external freedom, is freedom of the society as a whole, to function as it wishes. I wish people were considerate of other`s freedom as well, or atleast took responsibility to deliver justice in day to day life.

@Ajay : Yes, you must catch hold of d book, because it is a worthy read. Looking towards, a solution, I guess we must all work on how a system of justice and the skill of limiting our own freedom when needed, should be inculcated in our minds.When we learn to limit our freedom ourselves, we automatically start respecting it too.

Gaurav Jain said...

It is a popular saying that we don't appreciate what we have unless we lose it. So I can assure you that every Indian is going to really appreciate what freedom is all about the moment India is colonized once again (god forbid).

As far as the attitude of people on the roads, or in the buses go - I think it is all driven by the "looking good" phoenomenon (speaking from my learnings at the Landmark Forum).

The "looking good" phenomenon is about a person trying to "look good" in front of other people. The people who barge into the bus without allowing you to step off are worried that if they let you step out first, they may not get a chance to get in the bus (or to steal a seat or whatever). They don't know you personally, so their "looking good" image will not be hampered by what you think about them.

Imagine, had the person getting out of the bus been an old lady, then I think the people would have allowed her to step off. That's because had they not, they would have not "looked good" in the eyes of other people.

Or had the person stepping off been a Police Inspector, again they would have allowed him to step off.

Srijith Unni said...

@Gaurav : I very much understand how this "looking good" phenomenon works, but why should I look "bad", just because I am a young man. Justice should be equal for all right ??

starry nights said...

Never heard of the book, but I am going to make it a point to read, its true we just take freedom for granted and do not ever think of the people who gave their lives to obtain it. I dont know if the world we now live in will ever be free or just, when I look around me and inside me I dont see it. maybe I am missing something;

chet said...

Beautiful Post. I am somewhat like starry nights, I look around me and don't see it. At the same time I hope that I can make a difference. Freedom is something we shouldn't take for granted. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

Helen Wang said...

A great essay on freedom. The picture is marvelous! Thanks for visiting my blog. Thank you for your invitation to visit India. That's a great country I definitely want to go, and try herbal massage. Cheers!

Srijith Unni said...

@starry nights : YOu sure must read it then. :) And about whether this world can be free and just. I hope so. I dream of such a world.

@chet : Thanks for stopping by mine too. I too want to make a difference, but dont know how.? Yes, that`s the word! "taking for granted" somehow just couldn`t get this onto my tongue. THis is exactly what we are doing.

Srijith Unni said...

@Helen Wang : Thanks for your appreciation of the post. I`m happy you considered my invitation.
Glad for you. Do visit often.!

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

Well , there was every reason for them to ask them to wait ... why didnt u ? that was ur freedom too , but u restrained .. why ?

Srijith Unni said...

@Deepa : On the contrary, I pleaded with them, asking them to wait. They never listened to me. I wanted to ask them about my freedom.. It is only there that I hesitated.

Keshi said...

true...alot of ppl dun even know the true meaning of freedom and justice!

Keshi.

Srijith Unni said...

@keshi : Yes.. we need to think about how we can teach atleast the next generation about these.
THanks for commenting !

Haider Droubi said...

reat article...thx

samrina said...

Very well described and true about freedom. I must read the book.

Thnx for sharing it here and thnx for ur comment at my blog.

Takecare.

samrina said...

Very well described and true about freedom. I must read the book.

Thnx for sharing it here and thnx for ur comment at my blog.

Takecare.

Marthyan said...

I guess most of us were born in a free India and were taught about the freedom struggle rather than witnessing it first hand.

I dont think the effort of our fore fathers who fought for a free India has gone in vain, We now have a country that is free and we can govern to our best. (if we want to)

What is needed is a social awakening that aligns itself to the realities of the new world.

The movie Rang De Basanthi was made in those lines, but terribly failed to send across the right message. Youngsters who were good for nothing till yesterday, taking arms to make a change, is not what India needs or for that matter any country. destruction is not the solution for any national or political or economical restructuring

The message to youngsters should be to be successful in all walks of a global economy. Be successful individually and give back to the society in the process.

Good Post Unni

Marutham said...

Hi Srijith,
And your first qn./how freedom, was fought for earnestly, .. How much do we value our freedom ? What is freedom to us ?.//It had been rattling my little brain for so long many times. Am sorry abt the Bus incident for you!! It is bad, very bad...I remebr the time not anywhere else but in my very college campus, there is this place where we should all leave our bags before sem exmas and at that place i use to feel so irritated. Because these ppl who are soon goin to be professionals behave like morons,they dont make for others.They keep blocking the way, and even if you say excuse me -they move an make space for just your hand to swing through. One fine day while i was making way for me and many others behind me, there came this moron- a stupid Boy straight at me. He dint slow down.And i wasnt going to fall in the sides for there were ppl ther too.Had been noticing at a distance and as he neared he put his head down like he dint see me noticing and came straight hit me in my shoulders and tried to push himself to the other side. I was so impatie4nt that day and this MORON saw me seeing him at his eyes, So i just pulled his hands and asked " Didi u just escape from any HERD?? This is not the place for you.....Mind you!!! And do u know the manner to excuse ?? " I know i was rude...But they cant take advantage on politeness....He would have thought he will move so fast and i cant speak anything...He felt very lost, he dint say anything but SORRY! and disappeared. Althogh my friends kept asking why i had taken it so seriously and why i had to do this...It just happens rarely!! Its rare for us...but Routine for them.And am sure it will no more be his Routine!!

passerby55 said...

Hi!

Many Blogwriters are reading good books and they take the time to come and tell us about the experience. I highly appreciate it.

An Uncompleted book has inspired you to come and tell us about your experience. You have indeed reflected well to the pages you have read

"Freedom and Justice" concepts like this are not easy to be handled.GReat Leaders faught for it but application of the same has been left to us.

Not that it is not possible.
YEs, A sense of universal responsibilty at individual and governmental level can make it happen.

More so, i think self discipline. (a discipline which is not imposed)when practised should help to understand the importance of freedom and justice.

Again, if our fellow beings with a few great leaders could understand this sense of self discipline and universal responsibility....Can't we too?

passerby55 said...

Srijith.

I hope you and your family members have overcome the sorrow..

take care and keep posting!

Maya Cassis said...

"Even in these very modern times, there is slavery all around in different forms"......

You are so right!!!

I recently tasted freedom after a lot of struggle...sometimes our minds alone bind us and sometimes we get physically bound.But freedom....it's something else.When you finally break the shackles away,there is nothing like it.
It hurts me to see caged birds.Because I just totally know what they feel.there is no life inside a prison.

Srijith Unni said...

@Haider Droubi:Thanks a lot, for the appreciation.!

@Samrina : Yes, do read the book, however, I would recommend reading the book with an impartial outlook, so that the views on religion do not offend you.

@Marthyan : Yes, that sense of giving back to the country is truly important and perhaps that would in the long run, help us cherish our freedom.
BTW, talking about RDB, i dont think it`s makers were unaware of the wrong message, that it could spread, and that is why they try to make it up in the scenes where Siddharth replies to the queries of people. I somehow believe it is not a problem with the youth alone. What about the forefathers. ? They fought for freedom, but had they learned to give freedom it`s due, to instill that sense of freedom and respect for freedom in their successive generations. ?

@Marutham: Yes, I understand how you must have felt, after reading your anecdote. Here, the problem is not that the boy lacks discipline. He also is not being considerate about his surroundings, and in a way, I guess that is a facet of justice. Thanks for sharing your experience.

@passerby55 : First of all, thanks for enquiring about me and my family. Yes, we`ve learnt to adapt to the loss. About your comment, A book, is a wonderful source of knowledge, vision, emotions, and offers a lot to reflect. No wonder blog writers write about books. It is the respect one medium shows for a senior and much lovable medium.
Yes, Self Discipline is again one way we can surely instill a sense of justice in our minds. Ultimately, yes we must be able to achieve this. On a more confident note, Yes!, WE CAN!!

@Maya : Yes, Maya freedom is after all our perspective of our situation and the way we lead our lives as well. The Caged Bird, if it has flown high up in the sky, would surely be grieving in the cage, however if by some chance it has never ventured out, to it the cage will be the world. Strange are the ways of the world!!!

a country fellow said...

The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth

NeiLDC said...

Freedom and justice are good words indeed. But sometimes the term freedom seldom put it into other term of limitations. Justice are series with both. Seldom people knows the true meaning of this worlds that is why it impeads the growth of oneselves..They must be educate and know all about it!

Srijith Unni said...

@ country fellow : True. But if being meek, is to allow the others to misuse your freedom, then I don`t understand, how earth will be inherited and what value it will hold.

@neil dc : Yes.. You`re right proper education of the masses will go a long way in inculcating these values.

THanks for commenting, guys!

priya said...

Free (dom):
You are free to dominate in your own way!!
Never read the book, but will be in my list.
I have always thought-
Freedom is a struggle to live, earn and die. But peoples freedom are different means in their day today life.
If I ask myself- Am I free myself?
No. We are free within closed doors, but when you step into the society, you become a bird watcher.
Hope you got it...

Keshi said...

yeah...teaching others mean setting an examples by ourselves...

Keshi.

Keshi said...

example**

Srijith Unni said...

@priya : Yeah, priya, I understand what you`ve got at mind. Like i`ve got to realize, it`s all perspective. We are free when we wish to be, but the respect for this freedom is the issue.

@Keshi : A valid point.! We must set examples. like they say, there`s nothing a contagious as an example.! right ?

pophabhi said...

Very valid thoughts, Srijith.
I think its a matter of the society growing as a bunch. The mental growth of individuals doesnt matter, the larger crowd might be contrary. For all we know, the larger crowd - just like that farmer, are thinking about a way to survive the next day. Who wants freedom or liberty in that case? Who wants to think about Utopia?
Changes are inevitable. But who can bring it about?

Srijith Unni said...

@Abhilash : Like, I felt in my post, it gives happines when one`s thoughts are in sync with another`s.. Your comment makes me happy. Yes the larger crowd is not desirous of Utopia and the change, I guess each one of us can contribute to bringing it about.

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