What ‘independence’ means to me

What ‘independence’ means to me


Geet Jalota

Geet Jalota

309 week ago — 4 min read

15th August 1947 India became independent, a sovereign nation — free to draft its own laws, collect its own taxes and govern the lives of millions of its citizens. My grandparents lived their lives under foreign dominion, albeit a comfortable one, financially. My parents saw the pain of partition as teenagers. Each generation in its pain, has left a legacy for freedom to flourish. It did not happen overnight, it took for each generation to bring about a change which translated into a movement.

Yuval Harari may very well have pointed out formation of society and race, evolution of groups into nations. Every civilization that we read about, we discover their coinage, pottery, their arts and also the uniqueness of their social structure. Wealth brought division of society into kings and landlords and labour. The need of the society dictated the social structure.

To that extent, freedom is a precious gift from our ancestors.

What does independence mean to me? I ponder over this question many times.


I know my children will have a lot of issues to grapple with and perhaps they will leave this world a better place for their children. But my generation? I remember as a teenager I fought with my parents for the freedom to cut my hair or go for a movie, be a working wife and mom. These symbols of youth may look trivial now but at that time they were huge, because they represented the formation of an identity, which was an amalgamation of my westernized education rooted in Indian values. But then what is the theme that stands out for us as a generation, born post-independence?


At a larger level, as themes have panned out, whether it was mechanical inventions or automation of technology or artificial intelligence, as a race what have we contributed to the evolution of society, besides rational thinking and greater freedom in relationships?


Well what about my society? If I were to analyse the need of society today, in India at least, I find a huge gap separates it from the kind of social structure required. I find that while my day-to-day life is made easier by the digital age, my decision-making by information age, my stress eliminated by the media age, my health has improved thanks to the inventions and research in health care, my old age secured by insurance age but my social life is still confused – the structure which governs my interaction with other people in and outside my immediate social context.


In my view, there are some unanswered questions related to today’s society –

  •  How does a generation that is divided across many lines, cohesively lead a secular nation?
  • What is the key to thrive in an inter-disciplinary world with the limitation of silo education?

  • How does one establish a deep internal spiritual connection amidst an over-communicated world?

  • What are the means for promoting compassion and collaboration while grappling with growing inhumanity and alienation?                                     

These are questions assailing humanity as a whole and yet the validity of my thoughts and their value are measured on the measuring scale of the gender of origin!


The day my name stops speaking of my gender, my expression not weighed on paradigms of the past and weighed only by its absolute value to humanity.


That for me is independence!


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker. 


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