Freedom was synonymous with Independence at one time but now, with the passing of time, freedom means different things to the youth.
We asked youngsters in the region some questions on India turning 69 on this Independence Day. What freedom meant to them, what they felt was the gravest threat to India and what would it take to make India a great nation.
What does freedom mean to you?
Freedom for me is to be able to express myself without being judged by my religion. Freedom is to believe in right things and being free from unwanted pressure from society.- Mohammad Zeeshan (In picture above) , 22, masters in mass communication from Panjab University (PU)
Freedom has ceased to be a mere political concept. For me, freedom connotes, realisation of one's responsibility to respect the other's legitimate rights while exercising your own. Freedom is, thus, conducive to the empowerment of all.- Neha Aggarwal, 25, excise and taxation officer, Punjab Civil Services (PCS).
Freedom to me means living life on your own terms without thinking what people are going to say. Doing all you want but also realizing responsibilities.-Aashna Singh,21, law student at PU
Freedom to me is the independence to choose my life partner and course of life without anybody's interference. - Hameeta Kaur Malhotra, 23, completed MA in English from PU, Chandigarh.
Who is your icon for India's independence?
I identify more with the extremists of the freedom movement, most of all with Bhagat Singh - Aishwarya Gautam (in picture above), 20, master's in psychology
Vikram Sheoran, 22, MA Geography 3rd semester, department of geography, Panjab University, Chandigarh
For me, the real icons are the millions of Indians who sacrificed everything to attain freedom for the nation, not any one person.
Mahatma Gandhi would have been the expected answer to the question. According to me, however, the true icons of India's independence are the unsung heroes, the huge masses of ordinary people.-Deepika Malik, 19, BA Economics, PU
What makes you proud of India?
The fact that my neighbours include Sikhs, Christians, Muslims, Parsis, Brahmins, Jaats and more importantly that I can relate to and enjoy their culture as much as mine. - Javika Dhamija (In picture above) , 22, master's in Journalism, Panjab University
India has come a long way. So, whenever I talk about India's satellite mission on Mars I feel proud.- Hitesh Sharma, 20, B.com at DAV College, Amritsar
The alluring diversity of India which ranks 4th militarily in the world, it is the largest democracy in the world and has the second largest pool of doctors and engineers.- Amoldeep Singh, 22, from Amritsar
What is the most serious threat to India today?
Corruption has plagued India and it is the biggest threat to the nation. The misuse of power by the higher authorities is pushing people into poverty and inequality. -Gurvinder Sandhu (In picture above) , 22, pursuing MA english, PU
Communalism is a major concern as communities should and need to be treated equally. - Hitesh Sharma, 20, B.com from DAV College, Amritsar
The only threat to India is the ignorance of the educated, be it related to gender sensitization, caste discrimination or even religious intolerance.- Javika Dhamija, 22, master's in mass communication and journalism, PU
The most serious threat to India is the common thought that 'India ka kuch nahi ho sakta'. We need to stop saying that and start working instead.- Kavreen Arora, 23, from Luxmi Bai Dental College and Hospital, Patiala.
What will it take to make India a great nation?
A new education system should replace the current one. As far as law and order is concerned, the wrong must be punished well in time irrespective of social status. Khushpreet Kaur (In picture above), 21, department of english and cultural studies, PU
Awareness amongst the youth which is visibly increasing I feel can help in solving a lot of problems. -Vishesh Chhabra, 21, MA in journalism, Patiala
Gender equality, not just feminism but true equality, will make
India great. Aishwarya Gautam, 20, master's in psychology, department of psychology
Favourite patriotic song, movie or literature?
Hitesh Sharma, 20, NCC Cadet, B.com, DAV College. Amritsar - Ajay Devggan's The Legend of Bhagat Singh.
Among literature, I liked 'India's struggle for Independence' by Bipin Chandra - Mehak Sardhana 23, pursuing MSc in Chemistry from National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar.
Neha Aggarwal, 25, excise and taxation officer, Punjab Civil Services (PCS). Ramchandra Guha's 'India after Gandhi' and Larry Collins' 'Freedom at Midnight'
(With inputs from Harjeet Inder Singh Sahi, Aastha Sharma, Divya Sharma, Vidhya Narayanan and Prabhneet Kaur)