An ancient greek historian wrote,“ This also is remarkable in India, that all Indians are free, and no Indian at all is a slave.In this the Indians agree with the Lacedaemonians. Yet the lacedaemonians have helots for slaves who perform the duties of slaves: but the Indians have no slaves at all, much less is any Indian a slave”. Editor’s note: We inherited a perfect nation but was lost.
Freedom is a personal. You may be an person with minimal ego and might not feel the impulse to defend when attempts are made to snatch away your freedom, but like all precious things one would realise the value of freedom only when it leaves you for good. When individual freedom gets breached and starts influencing the society also it sows the seeds for pushing society into political slavery.
Political slavery usually lasts for centuries. Blacks have suffered under white rule, Hindus under Muslim / British rule, and Jews under Hitler. While Jews have made great strides in recovering their freedom,other politically subdued people of the world are yet to totally recover from the psychological impact of political slavery.It requires the guile of few individuals to crumble down the bricks of political freedom, but restoring psychological and political freedom requires leadership of extraordinary capability. Leaders of that calibre are very few. (The world has only one Mahatma Gandhi’s & Nelson Mandela. )
Self-respect: If you as an individual do not respect your self are you expecting others to respect you? Respect for self is inclusive of all what you are. Your personality, your family, your country, your religion, your beliefs, and your dignity. If you compromise on it then you are extending an invitation for the aggressor. It gets noticed right away and in a few hours or days, a stage comes when your self respect doesn’t matter first to you and then naturally to others. That starts eating you inside and alters your personality to an extent where you are always looking towards others to give you redemption. It eats away your spirit. It pushes your psyche into a dependent mode.You will loose your ability to respond to aggression and it would then trigger the process of silent suffering. That spreads to your family, your friends and then the entire society because the society is nothing but a combination of individuals like us.
What do you normally do when your self-respect is violated?
• Accept it as something inevitable or mis-identify it as karma
• Pretend that it has not happened
• Interpret that the violator is ignorant and forgive him
• Remain silent and think that god will punish him later for his deeds
• Punch him on the face
• Respond in firm but polite language that you do not approve of it.
The most immediate step to prevent further damage to your self-respect is to stop further insult. We would encourage you to experiment with the last option above. Before even responding, please identify which part of the provocation angers you most. Then first verbalise your response in your mind, take your time and then express it in a calm relaxed manner. Do it by looking straight into the eye of the aggressor. Anger is effective only when expressed in simple clear,calm and firm manner.
The aspect of denying your political and personal freedom and pushing you into the iron grip of political and personal slavery shows up periodically in many aspects of the society.
It could manifest itself as one or all of the following
• A timid approach to challenges
• Tounge tied with an inability to respond
• Losing the urge to defend
• Silent suffering and developing an complaining nature
• Aggressive behaviour with your own community members
• Keen inward desire to associate with things foreign
On a careful observation you can see glimpses of the above in the statements and actions of many public personalities, politicians, newspaper editors and institutions.
Are you doing your bit to preserve freedom ? Are you going to give your children a platform where they can walk with their head held high ? Does that involve great sacrifice like plunging into it full time by giving away your job, family and personal enjoyment ?Or is it something which can be preserved by doing simple things. Simple things like
• Sending an appropriate email,
• Supporting a local movement,
• Joining a protest for an afternoon ( You will feel refreshed )
• Writing a letter or even by encouraging people who are into it by phoning them a word of your support.
Try these tiny steps. Thanks.