How riveting does it sound! A word, full of character and substance. It just fills you with confidence and makes you believe you can take on the world. But does it? Is freedom real? Does it exist or is it just a myth?
We believe we are free. Our constitution guarantees it. We think that we are masters of our thoughts and ideas, in control of our identities but is that true? The reality – we are encaged and chained by the shackles of society. Today, no one is free. And obviously like always we humans, remain oblivious to the fact that our freedom is just boiled down to what the world wants of us, not what we want of the world. Our every action is the by-product of societal pressure and views. Even our opinion isn’t our own. Its what we are supposed to think or think like. Frankly, we have lived under the illusion of freedom for so long that we have forgotten what freedom is. We have forgotten its very soul and essence and most importantly the power to stand up for it.
I believe that freedom today has a very different definition for everyone. Most often than not our definition of freedom is scripted on the bases of the commandments of society. Just stop and think. How different is the meaning of freedom for a girl and a boy? Freedom for a girl is “You can go for that party but be back by 8” because freedom comes with the tag of ‘Terms and Conditions Apply.’
I don’t blame you. We are humans after all. We are fearful. And as the world is shaping up today fear is guaranteed but just as the world is getting sucked into this abyss of suffering, pain, fear and grief the true meaning of freedom is lost. Somewhere but well, who will want to ever search for it?
Our minds will wander into “what is going to happen?” and shadow “what could have?” and here is where we will make our greatest mistake. We will stop questioning “why?” we will stop demanding for our rights and we would have ultimately normalized fear and ignorance to an extent that “why?” won’t feel like an option.
What we have today it not freedom but captivity in disguise. All we are, are captives of society’s thoughts and opinions. We no longer can feel the pinch when we are shushed. We no longer feel the fire of revolution when we are stopped because unknowingly, we are a victim of this normalization.
We have forgotten that our freedom is not limited. It has no defining tags or conditions. Its just freedom. It scares me that today, freedom doesn’t seem like an option. Every day, every moment of our lives, our freedom is curtailed whether you want to go out at night, wear a dress or just stand up for yourself. Those rolling eyes have conditioned us into being a blind follower of standards. Those judgments have backed us into a corner of silence. The “it happens, so just let it happen” ideology is eating up our individuality.
But you know what? Each and every one of us is guilty. Each and everyone one of us is a part of this oppression because we too didn’t speak up. We let ourselves be sacrificed into this farce. We let ourselves be brushed under the rug. And with each victim like us, the farce has just grown stronger. Day by day, year by year, to a point where it doesn’t even matter anymore.
Isn’t freedom our right? Shouldn’t we demand it? Because every time a person will say “what will people say” or “how can I do this”, remember, it is your mistake too. Their captive soul and clipped wings are on your conscience too, because you couldn’t fight for it when there was still time to fight. And today when you will look out through those bars of restriction into this dismal world that we have created and think that “but its how it is, what can I do?” remember one thing that WE WOULD HAVE LOST THIS FIGHT ALREADY.
– YUKTA BHANDARI