Freedom, a word often misunderstood, has long been the crux of the conflict between generations. Since time immemorial, youth have appeared to advocate change through an unconditional license to have their way, often appearing to, and they undervalue the importance of control and guidance in the process.
Can freedom be viewed independent of responsibility? What then is the true meaning of freedom when viewed from the perspective of responsibility towards oneself?
The Constitution of independent India came into force from January 26, 1950. Slogans such as: ‘Swaraj is my birthright,’ by our great leader—Lokamanya Tilak, have inspired us all and still continue to do so. And that concept of freedom given by him was achieved when freedom, which was the long sought aim for imprisoned India for centuries, was at last ours. And by that, we have been promised freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. Then again, it is rightfully said that for every positive action, there is always and there should always be an equally opposing reaction.
Freedom is a tool which we have in possession. And it is only up to us on how we use it in a wise manner. Any action from our part, concerning the use of freedom, makes us duly responsible for consequences of the same in the future. This, people of all ages should strictly bear in mind. Supposing one explains the significance of ill-bore responsibilities of freedom to a child: You get three options to choose what you might want for your everyday dining. A: Ice cream. B: home-cooked food. C: burger and fries. The child has the complete freedom to choose any of the given items, with no kind of restriction. Given it is an experience-lacking child, surely it will opt for what it truly desires; meaning the home-cooked food goes to the trash. If opted for the other two items, the child might certainly face the ill wrath of nutrient void food. It will then come to know the right option to be chosen.
And furthermore, the child knows it cannot backfire on its parents; some children backtrack themselves and state that it is their parents’ fault when they let the child choose the wrong path. This might be owing to psychology perhaps. Freedom is not just meant for total entertainment. When actions pertaining to freedom are found faulty, their remedies could also be found. Freedom also lets us to learn from our mistakes. When used in the right sense, it has a lot more to offer other than just itself; it imbibes great positive attitude in us.
We face so many crime cases and bribery nowadays. And how many of us do actually stop for a while and ponder why that happens? None really if actually pondered over. Once again, it is freedom that should be held responsible. The crooks are free to do what they will, the government officials believe that there is no one to stop them from continuing their anti-social actions; they believe that the commoners’ resolve to have things done in a quick manner is their plus point. What does it matter when you shout out being in the middle of an angry mob? Who might possibly hear you?—you’ve got to take a stand, higher than the others and shout again. Only then, you won’t go unnoticed.
In that way, there should be unity among people, to rise up against those who wrongly use freedom for their own purposes with no thoughts or reflections whatsoever, on how their actions and deeds might disturb and cause unrest in a peaceful society. This should be done so that freedom, when thought with slight context to negative references, does not create that much of a dent between people’s eyebrows.
There should have been a provision made in our law in order to stop ill effects arising from the use of freedom, containing a detailed explanation of how the people are to use it wisely, and also explaining the boundaries of freedom. Otherwise, when freedom is taken for granted, who knows whether or not World War Three might just break out before our very eyes!
Freedom is a state wherein the person or an animal or whatever that exists out there, remains free to carry out their self-bidding, unperturbed by any kind of restrictions. It is a realm which lets people do what they want, what they desire along with keeping it within limits. To the old, freedom is that which is to be bound by rules and that which should be limitedly restrained to a certain extent. To the middle age, it is something they seem to have lost somewhere in their ongoing walk of life, giving them a moment to ponder over their past and their present.
And to the youth, who by far feel that they are the most deprived of this tender thing called freedom, it might just mean almost everything that they can get into their possessions. Any passing teenager, when asked if he or she is subjected to freedom, pat!—comes the answer with morose feelings and dejected self: No! But of course, too much of anything is dangerous—so say our scriptures.
A little shake of the head from their parents about what they are to do, and there! That might as well be their doomsday. But then again, not all children might be that way. Freedom, when exercised abundantly, leads to inevitable danger. And those barriers that protect one very safely—well, almost—from those looming dangers are what we simply term as rules.
Probably, there should never have been a time without rules and regulations on Earth, which has been ruled over ever since its birth. By that, ‘rules’ means not just jotting down directives on a piece of paper, but the generally applicable rules and forces of mother nature. Not just by humans, but by other animals and even nature alike. These days, we are in such a sorry state that it seems as though we cannot manage anything without rules. And once more, this goes to the poll: how many of us do really follow the rules? When great leaders of the nations are themselves too ‘busy’ to be following rules, where will the commoners, let alone at least a part of the society take them up as role models and follow the norms? Rules might restrict freedom to a particular extent. But that restriction is a much needed aspect.
Earlier, there was mentioned an example of a child with the freedom of choosing its dining menu. And with that unconditioned freedom, the child was most probably bound to fall ill or bear the negative after-effects of the same. That is where the parents are to intervene, and that would be the very situation where rules should come into effect in full swing. When rules are laid down to the child to strictly avoid junk food, it would follow it out of fear. But where does that place the child though it dislikes following the rule? In the safe bank, of course.
Human beings are said to be the most rational ones amongst every other living entity known till now. We have the ability to both sympathize and empathize—which no other creature might possibly be capable of. Our thinking abilities have been well loaded, allowing us to waver and stroll along the shores of either the good or the bad. It is only in our hands, with which we shape our lives and choose what is best for us—rules or freedom? Or would we opt for a balanced proportion of both? Well, life is long….so take your time and choose wise.