How Free Is She…How Free Are We…?

Following the National Independence Day comes the 64th National Republic Day, the day when the country was declared to be a Republic, implementing the Constitution of India.  While sitting pretty on Mother India’s lap, reaping all the benefit of her sacrifice, of her exalted status, are we ever grateful to our Motherland?…are we ever concerned about her plight?…what are we doing?…are we not inflicted by the ‘callous disregard syndrome’ that plagues most of her children, leaving Mother India lamenting…asks Sri Jullie Chaudhuri…


It was pretty late at night, yet I felt like going for a walk…to be by myself…and feel the cool breeze caressing my thoughts. I set out at an even pace, choosing a lane that would give me the seclusion I sought. The fragrance of wild flowers, gently wafted up to envelope me. Something brushed passed me and as it raced ahead I realized it was my four legged, tail wagging friend, who had chosen to adopt everyone in that area as his very own.

We walked on…it was all so still…a light drizzle every now and then…interspersed with a delightful view of the moon, aglow with a silver light…

From a distance I could see a silhouette of a tall and statuesque lady…though her shoulders seemed to droop somewhat…she seemed to be listlessly wandering around. As I came up close to her, I could see her face contorted with an expression of great pain. I asked her if I could help her in some way. She straightened up, flung her head back and laughed aloud…a bitter laugh.

“Yes, my dear, you can certainly help. I could do with a lot of help. You can help me by helping yourself. When you clean up your own act you help me.”

Even in the dark, I could make out her regal bearing and noble features. She seemed middle aged and though her countenance was pale, her face radiated aristocratic beauty and softness.

“Mother, why are you out alone? Why do you appear to be forsaken? Are you lost? Where are your children?Do you remember a number that I can call?”

My words of concern were greeted with tears… and laughter that had its origin in deep sorrow. She was silent and self absorbed. After a while, she sank to the ground on her knees and joined her palms in prayer. Even as I watched, she crumbled to the ground, tears streaming from her tired eyes.

I sat beside her, lifting and cradling her in my arms. “Oh, Mother…what torments you so…? Tell me your woes…”

“Dear child, you ask me if I remember a number to call…I have a number of children, I remember them all…but they all seemed to have forgotten their Mother…you ask me why am I alone and forsaken… and whether I am lost…? Isn’t that your question? Well, my child, though I am surrounded by all my children all the time…I remain lost and forgotten…for they choose to forsake me.

I have looked after them all, with all that I have got…right through the passage of time… I nursed and nurtured them in the course of eons gone by…the ones who had love and reverence, who valued me, who gave up their lives to free me…have left me in the hands of those who ignore me, who have no time for me, who are just interested in how much they can make, how wealthy they can get, through material take, take and take. It is their callous disregard that makes me break.

They scheme and fight, the ‘freedom at midnight’ is dust ridden and out of sight. Is anyone free? Is anyone independent? What can you gain by ignoring the Mother’s pain? The internal threat looms larger than external threats, individually and collectively.

You are free when you follow Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema, and Ahimsa. Real freedom lies in shedding disharmony and embracing harmony; in overcoming disunity with unity; dishonesty with honesty; violence of any kind with non violence; and insatiable greed and selfish pursuits with purity of intent, selflessness and love.

When death knocks there is nothing that you can take with you. My eyes have gone dim searching for at least some of my children who display these qualities. Have they all vanished out of sight? Did something happen that they are now extinct? Is there anyone who cares at all, who can take charge with integrity, who can wipe my tears and make my heart smile?”

I made her a promise that night, even as I realized that I held a weeping Mother India in my arms…a vow that I intend to keep…to be vigilant how I tread all day and even as I sleep…I will give her all I have, even as she has given me…she is one of the Mothers to be worshipped, along with the others, as per the Beloved One’s decree – Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Motherland, Mother Cow, Veda Mata, Mother who gives birth to the body and the Divine Mother.

The life breath of the ones,
Who got us independence,
Should not be in vain…
And with every breath,
I must ask myself ,
How does freedom reign?
Am I free personally,
From any kind of violent thought, word and deed?
Could be anger,
Could be greed,
Have I myself truly freed?
I must give my Mother her due,
Every tiny drop does count,
So may I ask you,
To join me too,
Together we can wipe her tears and restore,
The reverence, love and glory,
She once knew…
Mera Bharat Mahaan…Maa Tujhe Salaam…

II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II