Image by ChandraK Pradhan from Pixabay 

The 15th of August, 1947 was not just any ordinary day. Rather it was the happiest day for every patriot, it was an emotion that is still flowing in the blood of the citizens till this day. This year, on the auspicious occasion of 76th Independence Day, the honorable prime minister of India, Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi ran a campaign all through the country named 'Har Ghar Tiranga'. The motive was to bring the national dignity, the national flag to every household of this country. People enthusiastically participated in this campaign by clicking pictures of themselves with the national flag inside their homes and uploading it in the link provided by the government. In every locality of the country, the national flag was hoisted followed by singing the national anthem from the core of their hearts. But after doing all these, did the ongoing issues get their solutions? Or was it just a one-day-celebration? 

On the day of 15th August, 1947 India was declared as a liberal country by then prime minister of the country Shri Jawaharlal Nehru. Was independence meant for the whole country or was it for a particular portion of the country's population? In today's society we have seen many such issues that are not new. They have existed in our country since before the independence era. In parts of the country, the caste system is still being followed in full force. Recently a 'lower class' Dalit boy child was beaten to death by his 'upper class' teacher for touching the drinking water pot in a private school in Rajasthan. The boy's crime was that he was thrust and touched the drinking water pot. Many personalities showed their sympathy towards the deceased's family by posting statements like 'this kind of thing won't be tolerated' all over social media. But till now the boy didn't get justice. Earlier also crimes against the dalit community took place but they rarely got justice. Here one may raise the question, 'Have lower caste people got their independence?' 

The issues of child marriage and female foeticide or killing of girl child also found its roots in the pre independence era. Back then people gave priority to boy children over girl children. Girls were considered to be a burden on the family since raising a girl requires more investment than raising a boy. Girls were always suppressed and were forbidden from going out of the house. In their childhood days, they were taught household chores and when they entered their teenage days, they were married off to older men. The number of such cases were increasing so much that anybody could lose track of counting. Today also in some parts of the country, girls are still considered a burden on the family. Child marriages are still going on, girl children are still being abandoned or killed. Although girls are allowed to pursue higher studies, the number of opportunities is being reduced to a few. Women who are trying to break the chain and move on forward are sometimes tortured or being removed from the way by some not-so-secured men. Women are not allowed to dress according to their own, women are not allowed to roam freely of their own. They always need permission from someone or need to please someone. Recently a case shook the nation once again. 11 men who were convicted for raping a pregnant Muslim woman during the 2002 riots were released by the court. So here again the question arises, 'Are women actually independent in this country?'

In this independent country, people are still unable to think independently. In our country, the government has sanctioned a law in favor of the LGBTQ+ community. People can be in love with any gender and can get married to a person from either the opposite gender or from the same gender. But still, the majority of the population are failing to accept this simple fact. Cases of attacks on LGBTQ+ couples have made it to the news headlines and social media asking for justice but still, they hardly get any. In some cases, they even fail to get the minimum help from the authority. Aren't they part of our society? Or don't they have the right to choose their own partners in this independent country? Well, if a person goes through the constitution or the codes of conduct of the country then they may get the answers to this question. Being a citizen of the country they have the right to live freely but it's the society that is forbidding them from following their own rights. Transgenders are seen as beggars or sex objects in today's society. They are treated as if they are the anti-social elements of the society. The truth is they are also a responsible part of this country and if given the opportunity, they can turn out to be better than many highly educated officials. Here again, the same question arises, 'Is the LGBTQ+ community independent?'

In the last decade, India has come across 5 lakh animal abuse cases. On one part of the country, cows are being worshiped and on some other part, cows are being raped. In Chattisgarh, a cow was run over by a police vehicle. Now, where should people go to seek justice? In Haryana, a pregnant goat was raped 8 men. In Hyderabad, 100 stray dogs were culled and dumped in a forest. Animals don't give their opinions, animals don't participate in elections, animals don't run a country. But it doesn't mean that they are not a part of this country. Animals serve their jobs in many aspects. They help in farming, they help humans by being great house pets and uplifting their owners' mental health. But what do they get in return? Pet animals are being abandoned as if they are some toy to play with, stray animals are being tortured or killed. Even the national animal and the national bird, that is, the tigers and the peacocks, are not safe in this country. They are being poached and used as a source of income by some money-minded people. Although the government has imposed a lot of laws in order to protect the rights of these voiceless animals, has the crime against them come to an end? Well, the answer is no. Animals are still being raped, maimed and killed in hands of some sadists. So here again the same question arises, 'Are the animals of this country independent?'

Corruption, unemployment and crime are increasing day by day. Rich people are becoming richer while poor people are becoming poorer. People with genuine degrees and skills are not getting jobs while unskilled people with money are being employed. People with power and money and their families have made it their birthright to do whatever they wish to do without being worried about the law. On the other hand, poor people are dying in horrible conditions with the hope that their situation will someday improve. Prices of daily usable products and food materials are sky high while the country's GDP is falling below sea level. The middle-class people have become the ultimate sufferers of society. One of the former prime ministers of India, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri ji gave the slogan 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan'. Ironically, according to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, around 296,438 farmers have committed suicide since 1995. Moreover, around 71,000 cases are still pending in the Supreme Court and a total of around 51 lakh cases are pending in the High Courts. This shows that a huge number of people, alive or dead, are still awaiting justice. They still hope that someday their prayers will be answered and justice will be served. In a country with such statistics, the question still remains, 'Are the middle class and lower class people still independent?' 

Every coin has two sides. Similarly, a country has its own positivity and negativity. India as a country has gained recognition all over the world. India is a fast developing country with a lot of development in the field of technology, medicine, communication, agriculture etcetera. India is a country with some mesmerizing views that attract a lot of tourist attention. The hill stations of India are no less than heaven on earth. At one point where the dark side of the police or authority makes it to the news and media, at another point, some heroic stories about the police and authority reach the ears of the citizens. India's culture has been considered as one of the oldest and richest cultures of the world. In India, one can find a large variety of flora and fauna, some old palaces reminding people of the battles that have been fought, people of various religions sharing land together happily, an enormous variety in language and food etcetera. In the majority of India, cows are worshiped and are highly respected. People here always try to convey the message of love and togetherness and they teach to respect others' cultures and religions. Only gaining liberty from another country is not true independence. Independence lies within the country, amongst its citizens. The day these above raised questions get their answers the day India will be declared as truly independent.

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