“At the stroke of midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to LIFE and FREEDOM”

“FREEDOM AND POWER BRINGS RESPONSIBILITY. Before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labor and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons us.”

“On this day our first thoughts go to the architect of this freedom, the father of our nation. Our next thoughts must be of the unknown volunteers and soldiers of freedom who, without praise or reward, have served India even unto death.”

-Excerpts from “Tryst with Destiny “(by Jawaharlal Nehru)

I sometimes imagine what would it be like to be in Jawaharlal Nehru’s shoes at the time and utter those words. What must be going on in his mind and in the minds of all those who had fought the hard battle for our country’s independence. For they had given their blood, sweat and tear for the country, for they never even gave a second thought before putting themselves on the line. For they had achieved what was impossible.

They did everything they could for our motherland and we all are the beneficiaries. But taking a hard look upon ourselves I wonder what have we, the youth, of which our country has such a high regard and enormous amounts of expectation has actually done to prove its worth. Yes, that is apart from mobbing a gathering in college campus and chanting anti-national slogans.

A group of students organize an event in the JNU campus to stand in solidarity with the struggle of the Kashmiri people for their democratic right to self-determination” and, among other things, to protest the ‘judicial killing’ of Afzal Guru, who was hanged in 2013 after being convicted in the attack on Parliament in 2001. This comes a day after Guru’s third death anniversary.

It soon turns into a scuffle between the ABVP and the Left organizations after the slogans were shouted. Some of the slogans included, “Bharat ke tukde honge hazaar” (India will be broken into a thousand pieces) and “Bharat ki Barbadi tak jung jaari rahegi” (Our fight will continue until India is destroyed.)

We can do all of this and much more in the name of what?

-Freedom of speech!

Freedom of expression is “the right of every individual to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

In a democracy, everyone has the freedom of expression. Undoubtedly, freedom of speech and expression comes with responsibility. If few students from JNU had decided to express their disagreement on the Judicial Killing by organizing a discussion/event, this is still acceptable. What went wrong for JNU and is not at all acceptable is the anti-national (destructive) slogans shouted. It is evident that the sloganeering against India will hurt the collective conscience of the nation and it’s sad to see how we tend to sit behind the curtains of freedom of speech easily, straying away from our responsibilities, how easily we shift the blame upon the politicians and the judiciary for everything that goes wrong with this country.

Why don’t we stand against anything that we think is wrong? Why do we let the media drag such an issue which happened inside the constraints of a college campus to such an extent that it grabs national coverage? Why has this simple issue been the tea time entertainment source for the general Indian? Why is someone like Kanhaia Kumar a hero for some and national threat for others? Why are our politicians connecting the unfortunate death of Rohit Vermula with all this?

What has been the prime time news for over a month now is poles apart with the aspirations of our ancestors. It’s high time we look back upon what has been happening lately and think about how we can change things, we are too good to just sit back and leave everything upon the politicians and media, who by the way are the same people that we think are not doing their job properly (to say the least). JNU is a university within which multiple student organizations are present. It is a prestigious institute known to be a bastion of free speech. The protesters were too minuscule to be even considered as a sane voice to be emulated. ABVP, BJP, the media and the social media could have ignored a protest which was that small. Too often we let small protests like these cloud our imagination and mix up our priorities. We have issues facing in our countries which demand our immediate attention. As vigil citizens of a democracy let us be on our toes, stick together, work and demand for the development of our country. I don’t think our responsibility ends there but it’s good for starters. And for the protesters, “No matter which country we belong, we should remain grateful to the country we live in. Every country has some issues, you fight until it gets “fixed” and not until it gets “destroyed”.

Freedom is something that we take for granted nowadays. Ironically, it’s the very same thing that we craved for as a nation not more than a 100 years ago. The way we live today with all the pride, honor and self-respect is exactly what they had dreamt for. India is not just a nation, it’s a dream of those who fought for it, of those who lived for it and of those who died for its cause.

In the end I’d give another excerpt from the Tryst with destiny-

“To India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and WE BIND OURSELVES AFRESH AND FOR HER SERVICE. Jai Hind.”