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Freedom Has a Cost

Peter Fernandes Peter Fernandes
29 May 2023
The cow vigilantes and lynching of innocent people, especially those belonging to the minority community, have become the order of the day.

The greatness and nobility of human existence are that men are endowed with reason and free will, which makes humans a unique creature in this universe. Freedom is the most precious gift endowed to humans by their Creator. It is in freedom that we are to look for the Creator, love him, and serve him in order to reach perfection. Consequently, only human actions become moral due to the fact that they are based on knowledge and free will. Even the court dismisses those actions that may have caused great harm to society but did not proceed from knowledge and free will. 

Why do we feel that freedom has a cost? Humanity has grappled since time immemorial to unwind, but to no avail. The original pride and disobedience had distorted the vision and clarity of human existence in relationship with his Creator and other beings; for that reason, freedom comes with a cost. The history books are witnesses to the freedom struggle that every generation has fought for. Yes, indeed, freedom has a cost. And hence, every generation has to ask this question: Are we willing to pay the price? "We gain freedom when we have paid the full price," says Rabindranath Tagore. 

Individual, social, moral, and political freedom has a price as well as a responsibility. At no point or time, anyone should take freedom for granted, for it has consequences. The East India Company, which was founded in 1600 to trade in the Indian Ocean region and East Asia, ended up colonising and enslaving the people of India and elsewhere. The East India Company found it easy to capture this vast land and its inhabitants, mainly because Indian society was divided. The prevalent caste system in India is a bane on humanity that stifles the freedom and dignity of human beings. 

The Indian uprising in 1857 ended British rule that lasted until 1947. What a price the nation had to pay! This uprising should have united the nation as one people. And yet, India remains a divided nation. Just as the British did to rule this nation, the present dispensation is exploding the divide not just on the caste system but also on religion, mainly Hindu and Muslim, to hold on to power. The woes of humanity are due to the fear of the other, and as long as we fear the other, humans can never be at peace.

Humans are social and political beings that live in an organised society. The organisation should guarantee individual freedom, and individuals should use their freedom with responsibility. It is a hallmark of an advanced, civilised society that allows individuals to grow to their full potential. The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights and freedom. Upholding the constitution is paramount for any society. Therefore, it is the duty and responsibility of the elected government to be vigilant and to ensure that all respect the constitution. It is despicable when the government itself flaunts the Constitution blatantly for their own advantage, in which case the degradation of society is unavoidable. 

The cow vigilantes and lynching of innocent people, especially those belonging to the minority community, have become the order of the day. Those who instil this fear in society do it with impunity, under the patronage of the present dispensation. The minorities are living in fear in India, ever since the arrival of BJP government. Will rational beings and a civilised society realise that the worst thing one can do to someone they love is to take away their freedom?

At political rallies, the BJP tries to garner votes in the name of gods. Ironically, these same gods are dividing society and stifling freedom. How long will gullible people fall for this trick? Do gods need political patronage to save them? God is God because He is God, and He does not need to prove anyone that He is God. If he needs to prove himself, then that entity is not God. The above scenario was displayed for all to behold some 2000 years ago in Jerusalem, when Jesus was crucified between the two thieves. One shouted at him, saying, "If you are God, save yourself and us.” Jesus did not respond to him, but to the other, who said to Him, "Remember me when you come into your kingdom", Jesus said, "I assure you today you will be with me in paradise." 

Freedom is given to us by our Creator as a precious gift. Therefore, taking away freedom from others in the name of gods is blasphemy and a distortion of human nature. Those who hold positions in society should understand this reality and work tirelessly to ensure that freedom reigns supreme in all spheres of life. Only in freedom can humans reach their full potential and perfection. And polity exists to ensure that freedom is upheld and respected by all for the common good.

The mission of Jesus was to free humans from the shackles of sin and shame and to lift them to the realm of freedom and dignity as children of God and heirs to life eternal. The moral actions of humans to disobey their Creator, filled with pride, cost them their freedom and dignity. Only God can restore the fallen nature of humans. And what a price Jesus had to pay! Therefore, what is offered to us by God should not be lost to anything or to any human being. The rational being should be on guard to safeguard freedom at all costs. The allurement of power and pride is so powerful and attractive that some are ready to subjugate anyone and everyone. 

Under the present regime, the poor are exploited and suppressed, and the rich are favoured. The Opposition is condemned as anti-national as freedom is sacrificed on the altar of pseudo nationalism and Hinduism. The present dispensation is rightly called "Suit Boot ka Sarkar". They are here not to serve the community but to be served by the community as their kings and lords. It is imperative, therefore, to reflect on the current situation in order to take the proper course of action to redeem oneself and society. It is not proper for humans to live in shame and sin, denied freedom and dignity, for we are destined for higher living where virtues are exulted. For such a living, it has a cost. 

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