My mornings are usually the same: Getting up, finishing the morning chores, listening to Kenny and Accalia while reading the print and having breakfast and then heading off to the training centre. But today was different, that early morning dream, it didn’t let me sleep after it, it shook me and made me ponder on one thing on which I never would have given this much thought. It changed my perception on the thing which we know by the name of DEMOCRACY.
I don’t know what sparked it, probably the visuals and news I watch on CNN about the Arab spring in countries like Libya, Syria and Yemen, or probably because of the Benazir Bhutto’s Autobiography which I am reading currently (seriously, that book would make you feel thankful of being born in a democratic nation) or maybe the recent trait of our own government (of crushing a peaceful protest by force) or probably the combination of all. All these stories shows the hardships faced by the common people suffering the brutalities in dictator/monarch ruled nations.
The people in the Arab World are fighting till death for what we take as granted, i.e. Democracy. Under dictatorship, personal choice is almost non existent. Talking about the most strict form of monarchy I have seen till date, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I just pity the people there, they may be accustomed to the strict rules and regulations but they would never be able to experience freedom. In Saudi Arabia its mandatory for everyone to pray 5 times a day and fast in the month of Ramzan, even westerners staying there are indirectly forced into it, i.e. they won’t get water to drink or food to eat anywhere in that month during the daylight hours. Commercial and Industrial establishments are closed down for 5 times a day. You can’t follow your religion freely and publically if you are a non muslim, construction of any place of worship other than a mosque is not allowed. Whether they like or not, the people have to sing praises for the King and anyone who denies the king’s orders is beheaded at Chop Chop Square in Riyadh. You don’t have any means of entertainment, no theatres, no music concerts and obviously no booze. Listening to music is an offence to the religion. Women are forbidden from driving. A man and a woman can’t talk and move around freely in public unless the man is husband, father or brother of the lady. Even at restaurants and public places there is separate sections for women and families and if a lone woman is found in the family section, she may be charged for prostitution. Even the dress code in public is as per the religion. And on top of all this there are 2 types of police in the country, the regular police and the religious police.
Countries can be like this, even our neighbour Pakistan was at the verge of succumbing to Sharia rules in the 1980s under Zia Ul Haq. I know such things will never happen in India but still we should be thankful for the freedom we are given in this country. A mild form of dictatorship under the name of moral policing is showing up but glad they are temporarily silent after getting the ‘pink chuddies’ present. I can say I am glad to be born in the free India. I don’t know but I think I can say that this morning I kinda neared that amazing feeling of freedom which the citizens in 1947 might have experienced. I really don’t have words to describe it but I can say that today I felt proud! I felt proud while walking on the roads of our free country. I feel proud practicing freely my religious beliefs (even though its Atheism ) with no one having an objection or no one forcing me. I feel proud for the freedom of expression we are given in the country (I can write on even controversial topics on my blog without any fear). All this but I can’t say that I am proud to be an Indian, our country hasn’t reached that stage and may never reach there in my lifetime. We are a democracy but a symbolic one, just on paper, its the politicians who ‘rule’ upon us and get richer by the day with the money of the common man (we all know the present condition of India). But still we are far better than many nations and we should respect this freedom which the brave warriors achieved for us in 1947.