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 Blooming Stars

Guarding Freedom

            All want freedom. All talk about freedom. Only a few are willing to pay the price for it. Christ who came to free humans from bondage was killed because the High Priest of the time decided that he be killed for the sake of the Jewish nation. Gandhi who worked to liberate India from colonialism was killed by someone who thought Gandhi catered too much to the Muslims at the expense of Hindus. Ninety years ago on March 10, 1925, Gandhiji inaugurated the Satyagraha (truth-force) at a mass meeting in Vikom, Kerala, against one of the most vicious practices indulged in by high castes against low castes. Now it is difficult to believe such evil, discriminatory practices prevailed in Kerala society not too long ago. It is interesting to note that these practices were devised by Brahmins of the time who were well-versed in sacred Hindu Scriptures, and who as priests were supposed to be closest to God.

            Recently I came across a March 13, 1965, file photo where three white nuns and a white priest joined hands with countless African-American (black) demonstrators to sing freedom songs in Selma, Alabama, USA. They all stood mostly in cold rains for two days to protest against unjust voter registration that deprived the blacks of voting rights. This protest and other sustained protests paved the way for civil rights for blacks in 1965. It is also difficult to believe that legitimate human rights were denied to blacks in the USA fifty years ago. And I was in the USA only 9 years after the Civil Rights Bill. It is also interesting to note that some of the worst discriminations were perpetrated by whites who were supposed to be the best educated, and who were well-versed in Christian Holy Scriptures, and who were also supposed to be closest to God.

            The facts and stories above tell us that the freedom that we enjoy has been won by others who paid for it with their lives. The soldiers who protect our borders also put their life at risk and get killed for us. All this happens for the physical freedom. What about the most precious emotional and spiritual freedom? The consumer society slowly but surely and imperceptibly diminishes the emotional freedom of most persons through clever advertisements. History again and again showed in unmistakable terms that religions with their dogmas, doctrines, harsh disciplines, and hell-fire or re-births have kept their members in constant fear and bondage. Human rights that are good indicators of human freedom have not been won by religions. Religions that are so focused on the other world that they do not have any time for mundane human rights. Most politicians, who are mostly shrewd manipulators, opportunists, and utilitarians, are less concerned about freedom than their own material gain and survival in politics.

            The picture I have presented here is pretty bleak. But that is pretty much the reality. However, we do not need to despair if we are willing to take responsibility for our life, and to come out of our deeply entrenched programming and conditioning of long years, and celebrate our life while surrendering to God and the good of humanity. Only we can safeguard our freedom while we live our life according to the will of God manifested in our conscience.

 

     
 
 
 
 
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