Freedom at 75

I have mixed feelings about the celebration of the 75th Independence Day of India. It is not about cribbing about her state of affairs, but about the idea of freedom itself.

Let us step back for a moment. Indian or not.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
― Mahatma Gandhi

Of all elements of freedom, it is the freedom to make mistakes that gives an individual and society the ability to experiment and learn without fear or consternation. With social media and even mainstream media becoming more biased, it is harder for us to actually say or do anything that may come back to bite us.

Freedom to do mistakes and learn from them means that there is a larger community and society that actually is open-minded enough to allow the space and time for new ideas. This is however utopian.

We have always seen that society is in fact, the opposite. There are biases and no space or time that makes allowances for mistakes.

Society and law contribute to the individual behavioral context.  The law, however good or bad it is, is the custodian of guard rails in a society.  Society through its thoughts, speech, and actions influences and conditions an individual behavior.  We call this environmental conditioning.

Elders in the family and politicians are beneficiaries of this conditioning.  Freedom is not what we got in the past, but what we allow in the present.  A quiet and conditioned society is really not free, because it bottles the thought, speech, and action to make mistakes.

The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.

If you want to be what you really are, you need to go through a discovery process. The discovery process is essentially a lost and found process. Mistakes are bound to happen and there are costs and consequences. If the learnings outweigh the costs and consequences, then there are exponential benefits for the individual, and in turn society.

Transparency in public office and open discussions in Parliament are key.  Why? Because such behavioral change starts from the top. Again, this is a utopian dream.

So where do we start?

We start with ourselves, our behavior – the way we conduct ourselves individually. A personal revolution is a must. If you start looking at others’ views, choices, and behavior with an open mind. Allowing that space and time so that we can respond with considered thoughts, speech, and action rather than reacting as we have always done.

In short, to achieve real freedom, we have to be thoughtful. Thoughtfulness is the most powerful instrument that sets us free.  This may sound contrarian, but imagine this – people are more than their emotions.

Because people are more than emotions. People have thoughts and reasons for doing things.
― Veronica Rossi, Under the Never Sky

If you are thoughtful, you set others free too. And if that chain continues, we have thoughtful people who allow the freedom for others to make mistakes. That allowance to make mistakes is the beacon of freedom.

Again, such thoughtful responses and actions are hard to practice. But who said sustaining freedom and peace is easy?  On the contrary, power and greed ride on people’s emotions, and in that lies the freedom that never was.

When perception, thoughtfulness, and understanding do meet, we can fashion a range of viable expectations and craft a world of togetherness. (“Morning after”).
― Erik Pevernagie

But if we do, we pave the path for a free, free world.  Is not that true freedom our dream?


Ashok Subramanian
Ashok Subramanian
Ashok Subramanian is a Poet and Fiction Author based in Chennai, India. Ashok has been writing blogs and content since 2011. From technology and management articles, and to website content, Ashok has written articles on businesses, finance, funding, capital markets, management, strategy, and sustainability over the years. His poems and articles, which were published in blogs got a publishing turn when he had time in hand to put together his poetry and short story collections. He publishes short stories and poetry reviews regularly in his blog. His published works so far: a) Maritime Heritage of India - Contributing Writer - b) Poetarrati Volume 1 &2: Self-published on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback; Ranked #8 in Amazon Hot Releases in May 2020. c) A City Full of Stories: A Short fiction Collection based on people and events of Mumbai: Self-published in Amazon in Kindle and Paperback. d) Poetarrati Ponder 2020 - A collection of Poem Reviews He is currently working with his creative advisor and publisher on his next poetry collection. His second short story collection about Kolkata, India, and his first novel are in the manuscript stage. He is a graduate in Engineering from Madurai Kamaraj University, India, and a post-graduate in Management from IIM Calcutta, India. He currently runs Strategic Advisory and Investment Banking companies headquartered in Bengaluru. He lives with his wife Gayathri and son Anirudh in Chennai, India.

SOLD OUT! JOIN OUR WAITING LIST! It's not a virtual event. It's not a conference. It's not a seminar, a meeting, or a symposium. It's not about attracting a big crowd. It's not about making a profit, but rather about making a real difference. LEARN MORE HERE