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Essay on “The Misinterpretation and Misuse of Freedom in India” Complete Essay for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

The Misinterpretation and Misuse of Freedom in India


Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the indisputable proponent of the freedom struggle against the alien rulers declared: “Freedom is my birthright, and I shall have it”. This idea emanated when our great motherland was endeavouring to dislodge the British rule from every speck of land of India and thereby reincarnated a feeling of profound motivation and colossa’ pride in the hearts of the countrymen. He had hardly fancied hat his under laid definition of freedom would be jettisoned and discarded within a span of a few years. Freedom for Tilak had a meaning, it was a divine message from the almighty, to a carve his motherland into an Elysium. Contrarily, in the present context the world has derogated its meaning and substance, the basic essence of the notion has been shamelessly liquidated and has been given a ‘modern’ definition. Freedom, today stands explicitly as a tool to carve and maximise personal expedience and shun the rights and interests of one’s counterparts.

What are the ground realities that we face today? It is common knowledge that freedom in India—as distinct from freedom for India—has been steadfastly abused through misinterpretation and misuse. At times, it has been gagged and suppressed. Although we have given unto ourselves a Welfare State, have we been able to live up to the promises enshrined in our Constitution? Are we truly socialist, secular and democratic—both in word and deed? This certainly calls for introspection.

Articles 19-22 of the Constitution of India deal with the rights of freedom that are flexible and broad-based. Although reasonable restrictions may be placed on the six fundamental freedoms in public interest, there is no ambiguity that may lead to their misinterpretation and misuse. In addition, the much-needed and expected Government bodies—an impartial judicial system and the police force—have acted as bulwarks against any curbs on freedom.

It goes without saying that recourse to law and the judicial system is a long-drawn process in India and the police force have, time and again, failed to do their duty to the common man. The police is by and large, inefficient and corrupt besides being terribly under-staffed. This puts our freedom in cold storage. These Government agencies have, time and again, thrown cold water on the lofty ideals of freedom cherished by all of us and enshrined in our Constitution; they have often been reduced to pious utterances.

The most important factor, however, for misinterpreting the ideal of freedom is the bulk of our population that is illiterate. It is the people’s ignorance of their rights and duties that leads to the misinterpretation and misuse of freedom. People tend to use and exploit their sense of freedom in a reckless manner by airing partial, personal and ambiguous views on every subject under the sun in the guise of freedom of expression, thus making a caricature of this Fundamental Right. Participation in public affairs can be effective only when the citizens are adequately educated and can distinguish between the right and the wrong. Their ignorance has spread to almost all areas of human activity. Education helps make democracy a success. Sadly enough, this has not happened in this country so far.

 This also explains the plight of women in our society. The rate of female literacy is much lower than male literacy. Although a few women have made their mark in their chosen areas of work, most of our womenfolk are treated as second-class citizens and deprived even of basic human rights. They are treated like dumb-driven cattle. They keep on bearing children because, on account of lack of adequate education and awareness that it generates, they keep on adding to the country’s population. The knowledge of contraception is woeful, if not altogether lacking.

The most lethal misinterpretation and misuse of freedom in India, however, comes from the elite and privileged few. They are a law unto themselves. Our political leaders and their progeny, the industry mughals, the highly placed officials and the nouveu rich are the culprits in this regard. They flaunt their power and pelf shamelessly. They feel—and in this, they are often right—that they can get away with anything they do because they have the right connections to flout every established norm and convention of civilised society. They have caused the maximum damage to the system. They have a one-point agenda—self-aggrandisement at the cost of everyone and everything else. This is how they misinterpret and misuse freedom. What further emboldens is the lack of an educated, aware and enlightened citizenry. Plato has defined the real tragedy of life as: “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of lights.”

Ironically, the mahouts of our nation—the politicians and the bureaucrats—are in cahoots to scuttle our fundamental freedoms. That a politician-bureaucrat nexus exists and flourishes in our country is an oft-repeated altruism. This nexus has misinterpreted and misused our freedom all through and done it an irreparable harm. Added to it is the failure of the masses to visualise every fundamental right accompanied with a fundamental duty that has led to the present state of affairs where freedom has been thoroughly misinterpreted, misused and abused by the powers that be. Democracy in India is a sad mockery of Abraham Lincoln’s famous description as “the government of the people, by the people and for the people”. Our freedom is not true freedom as the common people are not allowed to lead from the front because they do not realise that “freedom is the biggest responsibility”. Our Constitution may describe an ideal state of freedom as mainly people-oriented, liberal as well as flexible. Our rulers have, however, twisted and transformed it into something that strangulates the very concept. The concept of freedom may be Utopian, but we must all nurture it with honesty, integrity and dedication. We must be all committed to the realisation of the goal of freedom. Once that is done, there would be no scope for its misinterpretation and misuse.

The need of the hour is that the teachings of Gandhiji should reverberate in our minds. He used to say that freedom means freedom of the individual. As long as the individual does not learn to discipline himself, as long as he does not limit his needs, and as long as he does not imbibe a sense of social responsibility, he cannot be said to be free and so long as the individual is not free, the country is not free, political freedom notwithstanding.


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