Freedom – the secret of courage

Freedom is the oxygen of the soul – Moshe Dayan

History, throughout the world is replete with stories of struggles for independence. By slaves, who were marked inferior and sold based on the pigment of their skin. Women, anointed as the lesser being had to fall in line with the “superior sex” read ‘man’. Simply belonging to a religion set you apart as though you had the plague. The work you do could just be enough to brand you as ‘inferior’. The divisions have been in existence since the advent of humans into the world.

However, the world has seen inspiring personalities, too. Those who have raised their voice for this fundamental right like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Malala and countless unnamed heroes, to create a world where every man/woman/child deserves to be respected as a human being.

So, are we, truly free?

On a mildly pleasant afternoon at my brother’s place, the conversation veered towards independence and freedom.

“What is freedom?” I asked my nephew, Shandy. He looked at me and replied, “Obviously, to do as I please?”

“So, what if everyone does as they please? Would it still be freedom?” I rationalized. His response was quick, “Freedom comes with limits, Phups! How can we all do whatever we want or desire?” “What kind of limits?” I pushed for an answer. “Well, as long as we are making choices for ourselves and are not stepping on someone else’s basic need to live and enjoy life, it is freedom.” Shandy is all of 15 years of age. I looked at him with a renewed feeling of pride. He had nailed it with his simplicity.

Yes, freedom is the ability to make choices. The freedom to pursue opportunities in life and happiness. On decisions we take without any coercion. Freedom is about the conscious choices made on an everyday basis to make this world we are living in a better place for not only ourselves but those around us and to those whom we will, eventually leave this planet to.

Freedom is not about the right to act, to speak and to express. It resides in the personal liberties we deserve to enjoy as humans.

Freedom is allowing the child in you to be alive.

Freedom is the ability to choose who you pray to.

Freedom is the decision to choose a pen over a gun.

Freedom is to live in a world that does not judge you on the score of your exam.

Freedom is to be a dancer in a house filled with lawyers.

Freedom is choosing love over war.

Freedom is choosing hope over despair.

Freedom is the ability to choose education over marriage.

Freedom is the choice to fall in love with a human and not a race.

Freedom is to be heard despite the voices clamping you.

Freedom is to live and let live.

Freedom is the power to change.

Let not those who fought to provide us the joy of liberty feel that it was in vain. Choose to make this world a better place. Or as Shandy says, “Phups, freedom is to unchain the shackles that tie you and run with abandon. That’s how you are meant to be!”

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