67 Years ago, Jawaharlal Nehru declared through his ever inspiring speech “Tryst with Destiny” our Independence. It’s always a bitter sweet experience reading what he had written then in the context of where “the star of freedom in the east” is today.
India’s independence, at that time, was significant not just because of the geo political and social movements that were taking place but also because for the first time what used to be a massive land mass of different peoples with different languages, religions and cultures decided to adopt a united identity that was built on the principles of freedom and equality for all.
Looking at India 67 years from then, I believe we are still coming to terms with that decision. We are still struggling to understand how to guarantee equality, how to stay away from communalism and narrow mindedness. In his speech Nehru states that our future beckons us:
To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.
It’s been 67 years and we are still facing this challenge, we are still trying to fulfill our destiny.
The India of today has many more Nehrus, Gandhis, Patels and Boses who are empowered with tools such as the internet (and its constantly growing reach) to help face this challenge and steer the course of this nation towards fulfilling Nehru’s pledge while giving every Indian a chance to achieve their destiny. However the actions of our elected officials and the decisions taken by our parliamentary systems seem misguided and will continue to impede our potential for greatness unless and until we begin to fulfill our duties as citizens. After all, how can we expect good governance, without being able to be good citizens?
Today we face a moral conundrum – the protection of civic liberties vs. national security. We unfortunately live in a world that has, and continues to, constantly sacrifice liberty for security, and stripped away the ideals we built our nation on in the name of safety and security. Stripped these ideals before we had a chance to guarantee them. This paradox is manifesting itself today on the issue of the Central Monitoring System.
Today’s India cannot prevent its citizens from being arrested for sharing opinions and views on the internet, it forces people to reconsider speaking the truth and speaking out against evils, it makes us afraid of expressing ourselves by making the cost of expression imprisonment and sometimes even sedition. And this sort of misguided governance will continue to be amplified until tools like the CMS are regulated within the context of civic liberty and within the context of what Nehru beckons us to do.
After 67 years, how can we expect to protect and empower great citizenship while bullying expression?
What regulations have been passed by our government to promote freedom of expression rather than curtail it?
It’s time to stop building a system that is deaf to its purpose.
#StopICMS #Sedition #Section66A #66A