BENGALURU: Here in South India, birthdays or anniversaries are often celebrated in a running count. That means India is “75 running” this August. For a country that woke into its freedom in the middle of the night amidst the turbulence of partition, it is certainly something very special. Days such as our Independence Day bring up a whole bag of emotions, and that includes taking the time consider the idea of India, who we wish to be, who we are becoming and how we might want to course correct. You might see this as debates on TV channels across languages on and around August 15.
One part of us might be cynical about the whole thing as just as another exercise in chasing Television Rating Points, but there will likely be other parts that are quite engaged and really keen on taking the time to consider things, appreciate the freedoms we have, worry about the freedoms that are getting eroded and reassert the idea of India. Freedom is won with great difficulty and lost easily. Unless we take the time to check-in and verify where we are and which way we are going, we cannot be assured that we would not just get lost.
In our relationships with our loved ones too, it is just as risky to let it run as it will, without checking-in. Relationships are a delicate balance between freedom and responsibility.
Is the relationship working for everyone in it? Or, is the relationship built on facilitating one person’s freedom to become whoever they can, while the rest take all the trouble and toil, without consideration to their own freedom? Is sacrifice of one person taken as a given, while others may not even be expected to curtail any freedom? Is there a payback at any time? Is the promise of gratitude at the fag-end of life sufficient enough a promise? Should some always suffer so that others might have a chance at greatness? Can everyone have a chance to fully and freely be all that they can be?
Any relationship can quickly become exploitative, whether it is in the family, in a community or for all of us as a nation. What might seem only fair at the beginning might quickly turn out to be patently unfair over time. A person agreeing to quit work to take care of elders in the family for a little while might find that it becomes years and decades while others are forging ahead in that time, or someone taking a break might insist on others continuing to enable that. If we don’t check-in often, raise the red flags early and ask for accountability, we might lose what we have and not really have much of a recourse.
Whether it is Independence Day or a romantic anniversary welcome the debate. Check-in with each other. We are each only as free as everyone else, whether it is individuals in love, or the individual Indian and the idea of India.
(The author is a counsellor with InnerSight)