I like my freedom

Its not surprising that fundamental freedoms such as freedom of speech, cultural and educational rights etc are taken for granted in our country. That is because most of us have spent our entire lives in a democratic nation and rights such as the ones mentioned above are inherently part of the nation’s psyche. We do not realize how important they are because we have never lived without them. I for one have always believed that democracy is the most ‘humanitarian’ form of governance. It may not be the most efficient(as in India’s case to some extent) or the most stable(as in Pakistan’s case) type of governance but it endows the people with rights and privileges that if used wisely can propel a nation on the path of growth.

That is precisely why comparisons between India and China cannot happen simply in terms of numbers and statistics. Policies that work in China may never even be approved in India because we have the freedom to dissent and to voice our opinions, both as individuals and/or as groups. If we were to implement an economic policy in India, it would mean no opposition from the political class, the business class, the public and private sectors and of course sometimes the common man. Compare this with China. Communism is pretty much a one way traffic. I am no expert on Communism but I believe that China’s communism is based on unidirectional authority. Fortunately, it has worked for them. I prefer India’s democracy though. Yes, it means we deal with corruption and inefficiency at various levels but, it does not have to be that way. I have the freedom to do something about it. The fact that I do not do much about it is another question all together. The point I am making is we are a very lucky people to be part of a democratic setup.

The reason why I write this is because I just happened to watch an hour long news cast on the Egyptian protests. The visuals from there were powerful. I also followed the Tunisian protests and the underlying causes for these two massive protests are more or less the same. Aside from core issues such as unemployment, inflation etc, the triggering cause for these unrests seems to be the inability of the people to question policies because these are totalitarian governments. They follow a heavy handed approach toward dissenters and in Egypt’s case, the nation has been under Emergency Law for almost three decades. I would not even like to imagine how stifling such restrictions could be. I think its really brave what the people of Egypt and Tunisia are doing. They are relentlessly demanding for a change and have taken to the streets in huge numbers to make their displeasure with their respective current leaders evident. I find the responses of other nations to these protests very interesting. These are hugely, if not entirely, political responses and are meticulously planned and thought over. So, a majority of them express their solidarity with the people of Egypt but refrain from making comments on the existing setup. After all its an internal issue. Except for perhaps the USA which has great relations with Egypt, considers it an ally and perhaps will be affected by the changes in Egyptian politics given its significant role in the Israel – Palestine conflict and its seemingly stable status as one of the more developed ecomies in Middle East. Only time will tell how events unfold in Egypt but I for one am more intrigued by how people will bring about their desired changes.

India on the other hand awards its citizens too much freedom, if you like. Apart from freedom of speech and freedom of religion and so on so forth, its citizens have themselves introduced freedom to spit anywhere, freedom to relieve oneself anywhere, freedom to misuse public money for personal interest etc etc. I honestly think if we were to live under an autoritarian regime for a week, it would do our country a whole lot of good. But then again, this is just what I think. The conclusion though is that, no one is bigger than the country. It does not matter if you are the minister’s relative or the minister himself. If people of the country turn against you, you are dead meat. I think if we carry protests like the one in Egypt against all the alleged corrupt politicians, we could achieve something. I like that we have that freedom. Or atleast the freedom to think and write about it!

PS: If possible try and read articles on the New York Times website on these protests. One such article:
Date With a Revolution

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25 Responses to I like my freedom

  1. Sankalp says:

    always good to read something that’s well written 🙂

  2. g2 says:

    The reason we don’t protest is because the middle class sits idle or at best write blogs like these or comment on blogs like these 😉

    The middle class is way too busy trying to make it’s children Engineers and then herd them into some stupid software job. Unless the middle class really starts caring about the country, expect no change 🙂

    • Namrata says:

      “The reason we don’t protest is because the middle class sits idle or at best write blogs like these or comment on blogs like these”

      That’s a lame excuse and one that I totally agree with 😀

  3. rahul says:

    Doesn’t feel like a blog post. Too focussed, perhaps.

  4. Rohit says:

    Protest and We.. thats rare and non-occurring phenomena.. At max we might tweet about it or retweet someone’s tweet about it. We just dont care since we have given up long back. Yes, most of us have the concern to see a better society but we dont really care if it is not going to change!

    • Namrata says:

      The post was more about ‘freedom to protest’ rather than the act of protest itself. Indians’ callousness is not something I was trying to highlight.

  5. Sundeep says:

    Makes me think if the people in telangana protest in the same way what would happen ?

  6. Sri says:

    I am certain that this post will not be passed. The post is a good one pointing out certain things like lack of freedom of expression, high prices and unemployment (experts are divided over this), corruption and hereditary politics. India has all these traits. But I beg to differ in one issue; freedom of expression is just a myth in India.

    Ma’m should be congratulated for pointing out Egypt’s importance in peace between Palestine and Israel.

    Considering that she developed her views from MSM, it is best one could comprehend. At one level these views are naive.

    What are Egyptians asking for? What do they want? Most of protesters are young. In Egypt more than 50% of population is below 30 years. For this amateurs it does not matter what comes next but Mubarak has to go.

    Protesters are from all kinds of ideologies; some for secularism and some for some sort of religious govt. You see now that there is no unity at all. Opposition is fractured and not very strong.

    For 30 years what Mubarak did is not just shut down criticism but he suppressed all parties except Muslim Brotherhood, the most powerful underground Islamic network in the world.

    If one carefully analyses, for Egyptians it is a choice between devil and sea. Yes it is. If Mubarak falls down, the country will pass in to hands of MB. What kind of Govt. it will be?

    In 1979 liberals and seculars have welcomed overthrowing of Shah’s Govt., dictatorial and monarchist, in Iran. That time too protesters and opposition is divided and most of protesters are young. That time too, biggest opposition is from religious class headed by Khoemeini.

    He promised that Govt. will be tolerant, once Govt. is kicked out, towards dissent and criticism and constitution will be based on true religious values; he even said that Govt. will be composed of secular parties and communists.

    But once he grabbed the power, he just executed all opposition parties one by one and step by step. And we have present day Iran.

    Iran holds elections; but if election are evidence for democracy Iran is democratic. But the trouble is what will the elected Govt. will do?

    I am not going to write anything else because discourse enters a field most people in this blogworld are scared to discuss.

    But I will leave one advice: Much of the media is dominated by leftist philosophy which calls itself liberal, humane and democratic which it is not. This phil. purely produces anti US propaganda. For this, every thing else is overlooked one should do bit of research before forming an opinion.

    My advice to Mubarak will be this: Use tanks if you have to.

    This is what Saudi king wanted too and he said it literally to Obama, a fraud messiah.

    • sense says:

      this is about the people.

      ever heard of NEWS coorp by murdoch !!!

      • Sri says:

        @ sense,

        What do you intend to mean by pointing this video here?

        Yeah, he cried in the end because he lost his brother. I feel sorry for his loss. So what? But I care for humanity of 5 billion Non Muslims. For your info., I am an unfortunate believer and I do not think that Islam and secular democracy are compatible.

        He literally lied on Muslim Brotherhood even after entire media, even al-zaheera, reported on Muslim Brotherhood participating in protests. It emerges that it is going to be a part of new Govt.

        Any way, he was asked hardy any difficult question by CNN; i call this a cake walk.

        I put these simple questions to that gentle man:

        1. What kind of Govt. will take shape in Egypt?
        2. Will sharia be a part of constitution?
        3. How will religious minorities of Coptic christians (8 million) be treated in new Egypt?

        OR you can answer these questions. With out these questions put to any protester, the interview is meaningless and amounts to dishonest journalism.

        Lets see the option of democracy. If elections are held and Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) emerges victorious and it seeks to enforce sharia, to a certain degree; will secular leftists , then, support this development saying it is will of people? If they do so, then, will they extend same privilege to other nations or denounce those conservative parties as fascists?

        I have my answers and am absolutely confident of how media reports such news.

        Anyway, I am just trying to open people to some questions.

        ************
        Read from below link: http://www.iranian.com/Opinion/2003/August/Khomeini/

        Thanks to ma’m for passing my comments.

  7. Romit says:

    Nice post 🙂

  8. vrikmace says:

    At the time of crisis, people unite and protest for a common cause. If there are no such protests, that means the time hasn’t come.

  9. rahul says:

    India doesn’t give us complete freedom! when was the last time you watched TV? 😛

  10. Sri says:

    Pardon me. But below link is a very good one giving insight on Egypt’s protests.

    http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2011/02/what-if-problem-really-is-people.html

  11. Venkat says:

    Good one.. 🙂

    • Venkat says:

      I like the ‘spit’ part..:P still yeah you are right in stating we have freedom.. just that many people misuse it in a wrong way..

  12. Sri says:

    We all love our freedom or what ever one calls. But nothing is guaranteed for ever esp. with out corrupt politicians and, more importantly, compromised media.

    One can read this ‘stupid piece’

  13. gaurav says:

    Indians are different from egyptians. If there was no gandhi and his sustained effort we would have still lived under british. Herd mentality is very prevalent and till we get a leader, we try to adjust with each and every circumstances. I am not sure if you read about the days of emergency under Indira Gandhi. We were always ruled by princely states and we will never be able to pull out Egypt kind of revolution(at least in our life time)!

  14. sri says:

    You just love to delete my comments!

  15. stephen/sri says:

    Just out of curiosity!

    Many talked of protests in India against corruption.

    I was pessimistic not because of politicians but because of media which I referred to as compromised which itself is totally corrupt.

    Any thoughts?

  16. sri000sriri says:

    The below report describes how smaller parties are begging Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt to preserve secular character of Egypt under previous Govt. All these people, members of other smaller parties in Egypt, knew who is in driving seat these days in Egypt and also knew that who is likely to win the next elections. After all, referendum – that was held – showed that moderates have no influence at all.

    Any way, secular character of Egypt under prev. Govt. is just a myth. What they are worrying is about more adherence to ………( I can not write these words but one can guess.)

    http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/466888

  17. RAMANA says:

    just a guy trying to make sense. thanks to sri for his effort….oh..people wake up…please…. before it is too late …..

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