By Vijay Darda | 15-03-2021
Next year, India will be celebrating 75 years of its independence; we all need to understand the value of freedom.
Our country is going to complete 75 years of independence on August 15, 2022. Just 75 weeks before this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the ‘Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav’ from Sabarmati. A Dandi March has started to cover a long journey of 386 km in memory of the 1930 Dandi March. This Amruit Mahotsav will continue till August 15, 2023 after completing its 75th anniversary. It is evident that this is the most important celebration of our lives. Let’s celebrate this event on such a huge scale that the world is left stunned.
India’s independence is also very important in the sense that it showed more than 50 countries of the world the path to freedom through the means of peace and non-violence. It inculcated the spirit of struggle in them. Most African countries also gained independence through this path. Unfortunately even today many countries are held in the chains of slavery. I had read a small report of a Tibetan journalist in a foreign newspaper in which he had expressed his desire for freedom. The report sent a chill down my spine. Covering the Olympics, that journalist wrote: “Teams from all over the world are passing through the front carrying the flags of their countries. People of those countries are welcoming them with applause. I also want to clap but how? Our country is not here at all!”
There is nothing without independence. Relaxing in our country we don’t understand how valuable freedom is because we have not been a part of the freedom struggle. When I went to China, when I visited Russia and Poland, I understood what freedom is. The life of people is controlled to such an extent that even necessary amenities for life are rationed out. Freedom of choice is a distant dream for them! The Chinese go to Hong Kong or America or any other country to experience freedom. Russians too go out to enjoy freedom but they are still dogged by the intelligence agencies of their country who keep an eye on them. Now see! How the Chinese government has reduced Jack Ma, the business tycoon and the owner of Alibaba to misery! His voice has been crushed and he has been entangled in such a way that he is destroyed. In such a dictatorial country, people live like fish without water. They only need to memorise one word – ‘Yes sir’. You cannot even express your views in front of the dictatorial government.
Now just see the state of Myanmar! After a long struggle of thirty years, the people gained a semblance of freedom from military dictatorship, but the army has again seized power! Today people have to struggle again. We are watching the condition of our neighbour Pakistan. How the people there are yearning for democracy, writhing with pain, struggling to breathe free air! They all wish to have stayed in India! You all know what the situation is in Thailand. People are struggling for independence. Think of it as the difference between having money and having stolen money or owning a house in one’s own name and having a house in someone else’s name. There is no alternative to freedom!
My Babuji Jawaharlalji Darda was a freedom fighter. He had endured the oppression of the British. He was imprisoned by the British. I heard many stories of our freedom struggle from him and learned how people sacrificed their lives so that the next generation would not remain slaves. In fact, whatever we have today is the result of our freedom. If there was no freedom, then where would we have got the right to speak? How would people have said that we do not have clothes, do not have houses, do not have bread, do not have the right to speak, do not have the right to write, do not have the right to protest, we do not have the right to education, we do not have the right to eat, do not have the right to know! And these rights are not available at all when you are under foreign domination! All these things revolve around independence.
And those who ask – what Gandhiji did? What did Pt. Nehru do? What Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi did? Then let me remind them of a very good reply given by our former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He had said – “If anyone is saying that I am doing everything, then it is absolutely false!” Among them are those people who sacrificed to achieve freedom and then those who made sacrifices to build this country. They include leaders from Nehruji to Atalji and now Modiji. When we got independence, our country had nothing. We should be indebted to all the leaders who have led us to this path of development, irrespective of any party. The sacrifice that our top leaders have made for the nation should not be forgotten. There should neither be false propaganda nor should the facts be manipulated.
There is a new generation, they are our future and it is our responsibility to make them aware of the truth. Keep in mind that the foundation of any nation should be built on truth, civilization, culture and loyalty. Any type of manipulation in it is not acceptable to any culture. And now questions are being raised about what the contributions of the Congress party to the freedom movement and thereafter. Let me tell you that neither Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh nor Atal Bihari Vajpayee ever propounded the theory about annihilation of political parties nor supported the suppression of the political voice.
There was a time when Panditji used to bring people from the opposing sides together because he believed that to keep democracy alive, opposition is necessary. I believe that you must build the temple, but should not forget the fact that just as Hindus have got the right to go to a temple, Buddhists have the right to go to the stupa, and the Sikhs can pray at the gurudwara and Muslims at the mosque, Christians at the church and the Jains can worship at their temple ‘Jeenalay’. The right to be Indian is unique and has nothing to do with any community strength. Unity in diversity is our strength. This is why the world looks at us in amazement. Such a huge country with so many languages, so many cultures, so many customs and yet it remains one country! Indeed, no other country in the world has such an amazing diversity. But it hurts when I see the fundamentalist forces going berserk to break the unity. I wonder whether we delayed our counter response in crushing such forces. Sab kuchh ganva kar hosh mein aaye to kya hua! We better stay alert, lest we lose our consciousness and then everything!
Friends, we need to understand that our strength of unity lies in diversity. If we become weak internally, then enemies will get a chance. Why should we give someone such an opportunity? And yes, the spirit of freedom should run in our veins. Jai Hind!