Are we really Independent or free?

Kaustov Kashyap
This year we celebrated the 75th independence day of our country, which means that it is the diamond jubilee of our freedom. Now, the term ‘diamond jubilee’ carries weight due to its symbolic and literal meaning. Diamond has a great monetary and economic value, the way freedom holds value for us.
But not every shining material of glass is diamond, and not every glorifying ideal of freedom is actual freedom. On August 15, 1947, we won physical freedom from the British, but we all had to pay a heavy cost for this. In return, undivided India got partitioned into West and East Pakistan, and later on, into Pakistan and Bangladesh in 1971. But it was only the physical aspect, what about the other factors?
Independence is a social term for being free, and freedom means being free individually. But these terms have three important aspects for being truly free: physical, mental and social. Being physically free means no one has control over us through physical and armed forces. Being mentally free means having our own mental state and mental health in our own hands. And,being socially free means not allowing any social taboo regarding anything to affect both our overt and covert behaviour. All these factors later combine to give rise to intellectual freedom. And, sadly, none of us is totally free.
We since our childhood have been subjected to be beaten by our parents for doing something really wrong, or many times, just for ending up being victims of physical violence. And we don’t have a right over our own bodies, especially in the cases of rape and sexual abuse. This shows a lack of knowledge of consent by the perpetrators.
The mental state of an individual is never being taken into consideration since it’s not visible to us. Most of the time, it’s someone else who suggests to us whether we should go to a psychologist or not if we are going through a mental illness. Society thinks that there are two types of people: those who are totally sane, and then those who are totally insane; there is no in-between, whereas most of us are of the insanely-sane type. We don’t have much control over our mental state.
Socially, our minds are just totally captured in the prison of social taboos. For example, in India, only we discriminate against dark people or those with Mongolian features. Anyone not having ‘fair’ skin invites comments such as ‘kala’, ‘koyla’, ‘kalapani’, badsurat’ etc. And anyone having Mongolian features gets to hear ‘Hakka Noodle’, ‘Chinese’, ‘Chini’, ‘suar’ etc. Further, it can be extended to the religious minorities, too. Most of us assume that a Muslim is a Pakistani, and thus a terrorist. We are definitely not socially free. (To be contd)