"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan

Read a bunch of articles related to Independence... all appraisals bearing similar shades of cautious optimism inter-mixed with lamenting reproach. One applauded a robust economy weathering the storms of global recession and moving on to consistently produce armies of young billionaires, another lauded the achievement in literary and other arts which makes us academically among the most competitive in the world. Then came the mourns of a fractured democracy, of increasingly unstable governments, of ever-widening rich-poor divide, of scores still devoid of basic amenities, of corruption growing its tentatcles into all facets of civic life. Some in the light of historic assessments while some in the light of current 'hot' events, they all argued on similar tenets and mostly touched upon similar perspectives. The only difference - some end with a 'thumbs-up' while some beat our accomplishments down to a pulp..

A healthy man retires from active duty at the age of 60, what should a democracy do when it is 64?

My friends have chosen an interesting topic to debate on - "what is the difference between freedom and independence". I couldn't be party to their arguments but I am sure most of us would treat them synonymously, yet when one has to sit and nit-pick on the two, subtle differences may arise. Dictionary calls Freedom as the core concept of liberty while Independence is just a freedom from extenal/foreign control. Independence seems more a material relief while freedom is an innate feeling of boundlessness (or more appropriately - bondlessness). So in this respect, India secured her Independence in 1947 but is she enjoying her freedom too? In retrospect, looking at the rich cultural heritage that we have carried from time immemorial, could India have always enjoyed her freedom irrespective of whether she was independent or not?

This takes me to a subtle angle - Can freedom exist unrelated to independence - like say, a man could be jailed but isn't he still free to hold on to this attitude? Or the same person be left independent to roam about but may start feeling he is trapped unfree within a human body of limited abilities?

I dare say freedom is what you make it out to be. Independence or bondage is merely a chain that is enforced upon you by a non-innate agent. The agent could be a another person, norms of the society, repressive rules of law, restrictive situations of life and family, your own fears and inhibitions. There may never be a truly independent state of life. For instance, India got her independence from the British but she will never be truly free because she is forever 'in dependent': Dependent on the monsoons to feed her people, on global trade to keep her economy running, on the flow of foreign investment to keep her currency in good health, on the import of steel and oil to energize her growth. In an intricately woven and interconnected world like ours, true independence only comes with death. Its freedom that is the true light of the living.

As an Indian one may just feel independent, but its more important to feel free.. as a human being. Victor Frankl, the famed doctor who came up with the Logotherapy concept, survived on this very basis of freedom during his days at the Nazi concentration camp. Even in the middle of mind-numbing horror of camp tragedy, freedom of thought sparked the rays of belief in Victor which illuminated the light of hope in him and as a result kept him alive. Life is not what happens to you, but how you react to it - and a sincere feeling of freedom forms the basis of it. Freedom, the kingdom of the free, can transform drab existence to delightful living. Feel it!

In case you wanna leave a comment... feel Free! :-)