Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What Does Freedom Mean To me???

By Reedima Kharbanda

Freedom, one word many meanings. Relative in nature but absolute in quantity.

Freedom to me is the power to be. Freedom to me is a way of living. Freedom to me is wanting to do what I want to do, in the boundaries of my cultures and values, and then doing the same for my gratification and satisfaction.

When I get up in the morning, and see the sunrays coming in my room, when I get ready for the college, all excited to meet my friends and enjoy the day, oblivious to the fact that there are hardships and involved, which I have to face to excel, when I go for the various activities and get myself groomed to become a better personality, when in I spend time with my family and friends and share the best moments of my life, when I pursue my favorite hobbies and when I live my life to the fullest, I experience freedom.

To reside in a land free of dictators, to experience the pleasure of exercising our rights as citizens of our motherland, to use its resources, to give back what we owe, to speak for the wrongs, to learn the rights, to punish the guilty, to condemn the unworthy, to stand up for the weak, to stand with the strong, to appreciate the goods, to agree to what I like, to disagree to what I don’t, to criticize the wrongs and work to make them right is what freedom means to me.

I owe a lot to my country which gave birth to me and I am in for repaying it in any possible way, because this country, gives me the freedom to be the FUTURE. Yes, we are the future, everyone from my generation is. Our ancestors were the past, our parents are the present, but we are the future and thus we have the freedom to mould the present in any way we want, good or bad. It depends on the values that our ancestors have imbibed in us, it depends on the principles that we inherited from our forefathers, it depends on what we learn today in our education institution, as to whether we make our country better or worse. And when I see myself, growing up to become a good daughter, a better individual and one of the best citizens, maintaining the status of ‘Incredible India’ and working for its betterment, I see myself creating future, a bright one at that…..and that is what I call FREEDOM..!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Do you have an answer???

By Reedima Kharbanda

By the time you finish reading this article, you will be as much in a fix as I am while writing it. Because just like many of us, I am also one of the passive citizens of India, who resides in this country, eats in this country, sleeps in this country, uses its resources but has seldom done anything that I can be proud of. I agree that I have not given back as much as I have received from my motherland, but in a few respects I do feel better off because at least I am not sleeping unlike others. At least I am more aware than others are. At least I know the issues of my land. So what that I don’t have an answer, a solution, at least I am willing to find an answer….a solution!!

My complaint is not against anyone. As mentioned earlier, I am just looking for answers. Fortunately, I did not need a terror attack to run my thoughts, to wake me up from the deep sleep that I and many of us are/were in. With the multiplexes calling off their strike, we Delhiites received a refreshing wave of new Bollywood movies, the latest being New York. I saw the movie, appreciated the actors and came back, not realizing that there were issues unsolved behind such movies, there were lessons to be learnt, and there were steps to be taken. Bollywood is not new in the league of conveying messages and causing enlightenment apart from the media. It has been producing and reproducing movies such as Roja, Bombay, Dil Se, A Wednesday and now New York to name a few.

By this time you must have guessed what I am talking here about. I am talking of terrorism. We hate it. We condemn it. We cry over it. We get angry about it. But…..we don’t do anything about it and that includes me too. In the years of growing up, I was in an impression that the terror attacks happen because some goons want to disrupt our peace and cause us pain, but as I grew up, my opinions changed. I am of a view, which is no justification for all those who engage in these horrendous acts, but still is the reason for the same. Whether we believe it or we don’t is our choice, but the view does deserve some thought.

No one knows how did it all start, and past should be of no concern to us, in any case we don’t have a choice but to leave it behind. The concern and the focus has to be on today and on a beautiful and peaceful tomorrow. So my first question is why is it that Muslims are the ones who are found to be involved in most, rather all the terror attacks? Is it their favorite hobby? Is it that they are not given employment like people from other religion, so they take this up? Is it that they are born with genes to become terrorist? Is it that they inherit the need to become one from their ancestors? Or is it that the religion has been punished and troubled so much and has been given some kind of an unfair treatment in the past that now they are left with no other choice but to get up and act revengeful, take a stand for themselves and release their agony in whichever way possible?

My second question is that if the religion has a problem with the world, then there has to be something wrong with the entire world and the way it’s been handling terrorism till now. So what is the problem? Where are we going wrong? If we point a finger on them blaming them for the deaths of many thousands in our country and abroad, then are we sure that we are as pure as crystals? Then why are there so many cases pending in our country which were filed by Muslims for being tortured only because they were a ‘suspect’ for an attack or an activity? Why the women from the family of suspects, who are not even allowed to remove their burkha in front of strangers, are called to the police stations and made to remove their clothes in front of the policemen and are laughed at? Why do fathers of young boys are made to sit in the police stations and are questioned at incessantly for no fault of theirs? This and many other illicit acts and gross realities are not registered in any file in India, but are registered only in the minds of those who go through all this, loose their respect and strive to survive disrespectfully.

And this…..is the birth of yet another terrorist. In my opinion, they fight not for their freedom, well known to us as jehad, rather they fight for the lost respect, lost by them or their dear ones. They fight against the system which claims to give all rights to the minority but does not so. They fight against the system which claims to be secular in nature but is not so. They fight against the system which claims to hear the plea of each and every citizen, but is actually hypocrite and judges people on the basis of caste, religion, wealth and other parameters. Why would a person not raise his voice against injustice? Why would he keep on bearing the mental and the physical torture just because he belongs to a particular religion? Why would he not stand up if the system would not hear any of his pleas? Would you stay quite if your sister is brutally raped just because you are a suspect? Would you stay quite if your father is beastly beaten up? If at all you would get up to file a complaint or to make your voice heard, this system, which is an epitome of corruption would suppress you, tire you, kill you, unless you give in to their demands!! Their conscious is dead and nothing can bring it back, but yours isn’t. So you will stand up. For your sister, for your mother, for your father, for your friend, for yourself!! And if need be…which will surely be, then in this way!!

So who is at fault? My next question!

Before I continue writing, I would like to remind you, that all this is no justification for whatever they do. I just want answers, because I have the right to ask them. I live in India, and it is my right to ask why a particular thing is going bad in my country. All of you have a right. If only I had known whom to ask, I would not have been writing this today. So I am writing it in hope to get any little clue, from any one…absolutely anyone. My article is not pointing at the few exceptions, who still instill trust in our system and believe in the fact that choosing the wrong way to make your voice heard is like going against god. God bless them! But my article is directed at those, who have lost all hopes and cannot find any other way to get back whatever they lost, or if they cannot get it back, then to make others feel how is it when you loose someone precious…some thing precious!

I am not supportive of anything merciless. I just need answers. Also, I am not talking about the past, because I did not know what happened in the past. I am talking of today. I am the youth of today, and I only see what happens today in front my own eyes, so I am trying to surpass the surface and see the roots. These terror organs did not choose terror as their first choice. There are evidences, unregistered though, that there were moments when they thought of bearing, waiting, crying, dying! They sought after various ways to prove that they were not guilty. They thought of ways to talk, to compromise, to adjust and when nothing worked, they chose to shout…..shout so loud that the entire Mumbai shook in November 2008. Entire Bangalore shook in 2008. Entire Ahemdabad shook in 2008. Entire INDIA shook in 2008 and before. There purpose was solved. They were to die any way, they were to be condemned any way, they were to be insulted any way. They chose to make us feel how bad it feels that our close ones die or get hurt, before dying. And they did just that!

We Indians live in a democracy. A fake democracy. Times are changing, our country now gets represented by a Muslim President, we get the first lady President in history, we make a new discovery every other day, we grow economically, we become strong day by day, but in real terms, we get weak day be day! This masked system and its hypocritical and selfish way of functioning makes us weaker today than yesterday and will make us even weaker tomorrow than today. It’s the roots that go wrong.

We choose a government because a population of 1 billion people and more cannot run the country. Therefore we choose representatives and we lay our trust in them that whatever they will do will be good for us and the country’s welfare. But if the representatives go all wrong, then what do we do? This is my fourth question. Do we take up the charge in our hands? Do we kick them out? Do we give them another chance, and yet another chance, and so on? But then, if all of us take charge then will the country be any better off? And who will earn the bread and the butter for our families if we take charge of the country? How do we rectify the mess which is created? I do not know the answer to any of these. But I wish to seek them and then do something about it, if only it makes a little difference.

My article is no eye opener. It is exceptional in nature and just a compilation of random thoughts and questions which would be running in the mind of any 21 year old who lives in this country and loves it dearly. I am lost. I am desperate. I want to give my children a peaceful tomorrow, while here in India, for the kind of ‘Incredible India’ it is and I am in to do anything for this. Also, I want to tell you, that I respect all the honest people who fight every day so that we can live in peace, though the peace is far now, because every time my loved one goes out, I fear will he/she come back surviving yet another agonizing answer to our mistakes. I also respect all religions and the people who go through the ill treatment for no fault of theirs and still manage to survive. I did not mean to hurt the sentiments of any and neither was I trying to make a point. I just need answers. Do you have any???