Written By Alaika Sridhar
Independence is a complex and constantly evolving state that focuses on the basic principles of freedom, equality and the rights of individuals that make up society. India declared itself an independent country in 1947, and ever since, it has continued to take grand strides towards achieving this equality and freedom of all its citizens. Despite its title as a ‘free country,’ many Indians continue to live under many restrictions that prohibit their free thought, expressions, and diminish their rights and value in their respective communities.
India is known for being one of the most dangerous countries for women due to the high rates of gender-based violence that women face on an everyday basis. One of the most common crimes women are victims of is rape. As of 2019, over 32,000 women were raped, sometimes even in their own homes by their own families. Unfortunately, many women are afraid to speak up about the violence they face and prefer to not report these cases in fear of the consequences they might face. This country will never truly be free until people of all genders feel heard and seen by law enforcement, and feel safe in their own country. Violence and discrimination of any kind, especially based on factors such as gender, should be inexcusable, and punishable. This requires strong law enforcement and stricter laws put in place that prohibit such actions.
India is home to nearly one billion Hindus that make up close to 80% of their population. People belonging to other religions are often referred to as ‘minorities.’ Going by the name “Home of Hindus,” most Indian Hindus are very protective of their religion and customs, to the point where they shame other religions in order to make their own seem superior. Throughout history, India has been the battleground of many wars that have been purely caused due to a difference in religious ideologies. Although war has not broken out in recent history, several conflicts have erupted across the country, solely based on religious differences, for example, The Sardapura massacre. India claims to be a secular country when religious conflicts continue to take place where minorities are often targets and feel unsafe celebrating their religions or involving themselves in religious ceremonies. India will never be a fully independent country until its own population allows and celebrates their diversity, and put their age-old differences aside.
Many Indians live below the poverty line and cannot afford food, clean water, education, clothes, or healthcare. These give rise to many issues such as the spread of diseases, unemployment and starvation. Unless these issues are taken care of by government officials and charitable organizations, many Indians will continue to live in devastating conditions without access to resources, opportunities and basic necessities that other people living in a ‘free world’ should have access to.
Independence in a country is an idea that should constantly be changing based on the needs of its citizens. India has a long way to go to make sure all its citizens feel included, appreciated and valued in their own country. The government and other authority figures are not solely responsible for making these changes, but it is up to the Indian citizens to open up their minds and let go of outdated beliefs so that they can move forward together as a country.
Featured Image Courtesy – Economic Times