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4 meanings of Independence to the Indian youth

We have come a long way since independence. We have made mistakes, learned from them, pioneered several fields and yet to achieve many other milestones. While we have the luxury to enjoy the freedom that we have got, I decided to ask the youth of the nation to tell me what they feel of independence and how do they define independence.

I floated a question on social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp etc. to understand what the youth of the nation feel independence is. Here are 4 things that stood out common out of the 56 replies that I got. While it is definitely not a statistical study, but this might give you a glimpse of “What Does Independence mean to the Youth?”

1. Independence of Expression


While I was expecting to get varied responses, I was surprised to see that more than 60 percent of the replies that I got in some way or the other wanted the freedom of expression. Youth today want to talk about matters freely without the fear of any sort of judgment from anyone. Many of whom replied felt that the society forces us to express ourselves but when the truth is spilled out, people are not ready to take that and start telling the youngsters that they are rebel and their actions and thoughts are not in line with the welfare of society. Youngsters want to voice out their opinion without worrying about any judgment. They feel that people should respect their opinions even if they do not agree to it.

2. Independence is Responsibility


The next most common response that I received was that with independence comes greater responsibility. While we enjoy living in a free country, that should not allow us to be careless and take things for granted. As was noted in one of the responses, “many people in our country still indulge in unproductive activities because they know that they are free to do anything. While this may give them one-time satisfaction, it brings harm to the other members of the society”. This correlates with another response that I received which said that Independence is Wisdom and that we should use the wisdom to indulge in activities that are for greater good and not for selfish motives.

3. Independence is state of being at peace

One of my friends quoted “You are asking about independence. Are we really independent? People in Kashmir fear for their lives. People in Maharashtra cannot eat beef even if they relish eat? People from the North East are attacked so often that they do not know when would be their last day? There are girl children being still killed in many parts of our country. So you tell me have we really achieved independence?” There are youngsters who feel that true independence can be achieved when there is peace all over. While there might be pessimism, there are beacons of light which keep appearing quite often. As one of the respondents commented, “for me independence would be achieved when we are at the state of being at peace with everything and everyone”. While this may not be true completely but we are inching towards that.

4. Independence is Freedom to choose my own life


Youth wishes not to be dictated by anyone. The youngsters today wish to be independent completely in the actions that they take as they are willing to take the risks with their lives. An important point mentioned above which should be kept in mind is that while being independent, one should not be selfish but work for a larger good. As one of my friends said “For me independence is the freedom to decide my own life. I don’t want to be told what I should wear, whom I should marry or whom I should date. For me Independence is live and let live.”

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