Freedom is the spice of life

Shruti P.

Freedom is the spice of life

This month India celebrates its 73rd Independence Day. A big day for the nation because freedom is what has brought us all the prosperity, position and recognition as a power in the making. While we rejoice and celebrate our independence as a nation, I would want to draw attention to individual freedom. Adolescents value freedom much more than people of other ages. They want to assert their individuality and it is them to whom I direct my question, “What is freedom?” “Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else.” said Epictetus and perhaps most would agree with him but to me this is not freedom. I feel freedom is neither a pursuit for happiness without restriction, nor is it a license to do what one wishes. Freedom goes hand in hand with great responsibility and discipline of the self. It does not mean to do as you please but to do what is right and not be cowed down by the forces around, be it society, family or friends. To me it means to break every shackle that one feels is holding him/her back from achieving his/her goals. To be free means to be able to discipline ones mind, embrace responsibility, and be righteous. To be free means to be ready to take decisions on your own and being responsible for them and not to blame others if they go wrong. To be free means to think of your actions before taking the leap and check if it is driven by selfishness or self-respect and self-reliance. Mahatma Gandhi had said, “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” I totally agree with him but it should also include learning from those mistakes and to become better than what one already is. Freedom also means to be free from selfish desires and a wish to pull others down. Such a behaviour would only make one small. Freedom is a tool one should use to explore, experience, and evolve to be more human and to help another fellow being rise in life. To be free means to achieve such greatness that you help the fellow human beings to free themselves from their bondage and become the reason for their liberty. To me true freedom is what Nelson Mandela said, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

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