Is there any difference between Independence and Freedom?

Rabindranath Tagore rightly pointed out, only that country that can provide the freedom of securing knowledge, freedom to exercise one's will without fear, freedom from oppression and class differences will be able to produce independent citizens who can hold their heads high with confidence and are capable to lead our democratic secular country to progress in the world arena

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Dr Agnivesh Jyotiraditya Kannankara
Dr Agnivesh Jyotiraditya Kannankara
is a multiple records holder, winner of various awards with 14 published books to his credit

“True independence and freedom can only exist in doing what’s right”

The powerful words from Brigham Young are bound to instill some serious insight in the citizens into understanding and distinguishing between independence and freedom as our nation celebrates the 75th Independence Day.

Independence is interpreted by the dictionary as ‘being free from outside control and being able to think or act for oneself.’ It means that only when one is capable of being self-sufficient and responsible enough to make one’s own decisions and assume responsibility for them, without being influenced by others, that one can be considered independent. Here, the important point to be considered is that education forms the vital door to achieve these qualities.

Independence is a complex idea that is hard to define. Different people perceive independence differently. Some believe that true independence means being able to do whatever one wants without being constrained by rules and laws. Some others believe it to be the right of a person to stand up for himself and take decisions without external pressure. However, the basic principle remains the same independence is being able to act by oneself and not having to depend on others.

Independence can also be expressed as the freedom of the soul, a perception of the mind and a feeling experienced by the heart. This freedom, its perception and the feeling are that of liberation, patriotism and self-dependence. When all such terms are put together and exercised, it is a big responsibility on the citizens of that nation and also on those who govern it.

But Freedom and Independence may not essentially mean the same. Let’s make a humble effort to shed some light on whether freedom is very different from independence

If Nelson Mandela’s words could be borrowed,

“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Freedom is a term that cannot be applied to just one individual but is relevant to society as a whole. It is worth noting that the real essence of freedom lies in helping others to enjoy it too.

To many, freedom means being supported in exploring a new unconventional path, to create new ways of living. Their interpretation of freedom is to free themselves from societal expectations of living life in a certain way. The question raised by them is how one can have real freedom when he has to just act according to the rules set by others.

The dictionary defines freedom as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.” It can be explained as one’s right to express oneself.

Freedom, in a political context, refers to the absence of physical coercion and being free from government coercion. It means to be free from the coercive power of the authority and nothing else. Freedom also means that one’s life is shaped by personal priorities rather than social pressures.

In the context of a nation, freedom and independence are considered roughly the same, though in the individual scenario it may not necessarily be so. It may be possible for a person to have freedom without independence but attaining independence without the freedom to act according to one’s will is certainly out of question. This is exactly the reason why our constitution guarantees such fundamental rights as freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, and the right to equality. right against exploitation and most importantly the freedom to choose our government to ensure the people are free as well as independent.

“Your freedom to swing your arms ends where my nose begins.” These golden words serve as a constant reminder to man as a social being to be cautious, not to overstep one’s boundaries and respect others’ freedom as well.

As our great poet Tagore rightly pointed out, only that country that can provide the freedom of securing knowledge, freedom to exercise one’s will without fear, freedom from oppression and class differences will be able to produce independent citizens who can hold their heads high with confidence and are capable to lead our democratic secular country to progress in the world arena.

Freedom is the principle of being able to practice one’s free will in theory. Independence is the ability of a person to exercise his or her free will without fearing repercussions by being self-dependent. Therefore, it can be said that freedom and independence go hand in hand to form an egalitarian society and work together to achieve peace and harmony.

On a concluding note, it would be worthwhile emphasizing the importance of enjoying freedom to the fullest, but keeping in mind the values, tradition, and heritage of our motherland; keeping her honour in highest priority; to distinguish between good and evil – Only then it can pave the way to independence in the true sense!

Dr Agnivesh Jyotiraditya Kannankara
Dr Agnivesh Jyotiraditya Kannankara
is a multiple records holder, winner of various awards with 14 published books to his credit

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