It’s post India’s 68th Independence Day, a day to remind and celebrate FREEDOM. Article 19 of Indian Constitution guarantees to every Citizen of India, that the Six basic expressions of freedom which includes the Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom to assemble peaceably and without arms, Freedom to form associations or unions, Freedom to move freely throughout the territory of India practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business India, Freedom to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India. Besides this, we also have the Right to Freedom of Religion, Cultural and Educational Rights, etc. This gives me the freedom to gather some of my thoughts, and try to express on the way people can abuse this wonderful thing called FREEDOM.
1) Abuse of Freedom: Freedom of speech is perhaps one of the most abused freedoms we have. One can indulge in this freedom to the extent of profanity and nudity. But the irony is that, people remain silent about it, encouraging these moral destroyers to abuse the freedom. People are given the right to express themselves, but not the right to curse and abuse. In this age of enlightenment, one needs to be reminded that there is a certain decency and decorum in the human society; self-control and respect for the other is something that comes out of being civilized.
2) Abuse of Health: With the recent developments in the communication system and trade, we have multiple choices of food stuff and beverages which we have not imagined some years ago. Today we are pampered with choices, and the result is fatal. For example, people are favored with multiple drinks. Drinking too much on a single occasion or over time has always taken a serious toll on health. It’s a funny thing to observe the way alcohol interferes with the brain’s way of communication. But it’s a serious thing at the same time. Look at the way alcohol can damage the heart and the brain; it can create problems in the liver and inflame the whole blood system; it can give way to cancer and weaken the immune system, etc. This we know, and yet least bothered. On the other hand, look at the way how different brands of food, food habits or lifestyle can lead to diabetes, stroke, intestinal problems, etc. Consider the way people make use of axone, paans deinga, and smoked meat, etc. These are all a matter of making good sense and habits. We cannot ask for a good health when we have not contributed anything good towards health.
3) Abuse of Technology: Our ancestors would not have imagined the extent of technology that we have today. Science and technology has given us enough information and communicating materials to have access to different spheres of individuals and their environment. Private life is not for public exposure. But people have abused technology to the extent of making sex as public entertainment. And the result of which is rape, molestation, murder, etc. Technology has given people the methods and gadgets of controlling and monitoring. And people dare to use these technologies to threaten, stalk, steal, hack, blackmail, immoral activities of different sorts, with or without the consent of the person concerned. These threats and intimidation are not just within the context of sexual assault or violence. People abuse technology to manipulate, overpower and enslave others for their benefit. These are some of the serious concerns that we have, and it comes with the abuse of technology.
4) Abuse of Resources: Resources of the state are meant for all the individuals of the state not just one particular member or group. There are many forms of state resources which can be used or abused. For example, if a so called public servant steals money from his or her department budget to give to his or her party, then that is abuse of resources. One goes even up to the extent of giving it to the church – funny but it’s true!!! If on the other hand, the same public servant puts the money in his or her own pocket, then that is corruption.
5) Abuse of Religion: There has always been some people who would come with all their religiosity, “holier than thou” attitude. And their religiosity, as the world can see, is to exploit the opportunities in the secular world. That reminds us of the “wolves in sheep’s skin”.
There has also been people who pretend and claim that the Church and the state are the same. They would have their own agendas, and given a chance, they would build their own empire in Christ’s kingdom. The worst is, being in the ministry for the sake of publicity and platform. And the danger is that that they use the tag of “Christian Ministry” as a tool to make their ends meet.
“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
- The first is freedom of speech and expression – everywhere in the world.
- The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way – everywhere in the world.
- The third is freedom from want – which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants – everywhere in the world.
- The fourth is freedom from fear – which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor – anywhere in the world.
“That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, excerpted from the State of the Union.
I am not well as I write this article, and thinking about these issues is not making me feel any better. And as a follower of Hindu we are reminded that our freedom comes with a Hindu responsibility. Our freedom is less important to us than strengthening the faith a person. Apostle Paul exhorted the believers in Corinth like this:
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols?
The heart of the matter is that that FREEDOM is not just a wonderful word nor is it just a wonderful feeling. This FREEDOM can be expressed in different forms and mediums. But in doing so, it should not be at the expense of somebody’s freedom. That drives us back to the basics. Self-control and respect for the other will give rise to decency and decorum in the society. Just as you value your freedom, you will also learn how to value the freedom of others. That prevents FREEDOM from being abused.
Sathya Murthy M. Chetty
Jss Law College, Mysore