As per the dictionary, the word ‘independence’ means the state or quality of being independent, freedom from dependence, and exemption from reliance on, or control by others. It also means the state of having sufficient means for a comfortable livelihood.
Now actually what independence means to me is certainly what the word itself stands for. In simple terms it gives me freedom to speak, to oppose, to support and to live my life in an atmosphere of freedom. So actually it is a state wherein an individual feels mentally free to do things as per his liking. In a country where independence practically exists, it will have peace and harmony. Now the thing is, the notion of independence may differ from person to person. What is independence to me may not be independence to others. For example, I want freedom of speech; it may not be the same with another person. His perception may be different from mine; he may oppose my understanding of free speech by stating that in such a state everybody would be legal to say whatever he/she feels, without any regard of its impact on the specific society or nation as a whole. So there has to be certain rules and laws limiting free speech, otherwise there would be chaos and riots everywhere.
India is celebrating its 67th year of independence, but the question I ask: Is India really independent?
The answer to this question may be partially yes and partially no. It’s true the state of India has certainly changed as compared to pre-1947. I would rather like to put it this way, before 1947 India was ruled by the British and after 1947 it’s being ruled by so-called Indians. The people who are ruling are not concerned about the nation, rather they are more concerned in filling their own pockets. The state of the people has not changed much.
As per the constitution of India, people do have various freedoms, no doubt about that, but on a much wider view, the picture is quite different. Most of these things don’t practically work, they are mostly on paper. In a corrupt society, independence cannot prevail. The presence of independence can be determined by the comfortable livelihood. After 67 years of independence, the state of poverty in India has grown three folds. Every day, the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. The economy may have grown but what about the per capita income? There are a lot of issues India is unable to solve even after 67 years of independence.
Another point I would like to make here is that before 1947, the British ruled us and made us work for them; in other words they were our employers. The same is the case even now; we are begging foreigners for jobs, investments, and imports because we are still not self-reliant. So actually, India is not practically independent because Indians still, after 67 years, are ruled and do not have any real freedom.
[Sheikh Aamir Ali (class of 2014) is a postgraduate student in the Center for Management Studies. He can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org]
[This article is in response to a call-for-articles made by Jamia Journal on the occasion of India’s 67th Independence Day. We asked our readers to write and send in their opinion on what independence meant to them. Of all the submissions we received, “Independence Lies in the Freedom to be Happy,” by Zainab Abrar was deemed to be the best. The first, second, and third runner-ups respectively were: “Born to Fly,” by Mohd. Usman Mallick; “Strive for Your Full ‘Half Independence,'” by Aqsa Khan; and “Independence: Freedom to Live Freely” by Sheikh Aamir Ali.]