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'I'm enjoying complete freedom'

Indian and Pakistani bloggers express their views on what freedom means to each of them. Mayank Austen Soofi blogs and finds out more. Special: India turns 61

india Updated: Aug 14, 2008 22:02 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi

Freedom is so wonderful. If a politician is messing it up, I can raise a hue and cry about it without being bothered by tax raids. Besides, as a restaurateur, if I don't agree with a policy, I don’t think twice before knocking at the door of the commerce minister or chief minister asking him or her to roll back the decision.
Ritu Dalmia, chef

Freedom means so much to express yourself and act without worrying. It means having access to information that’s not controlled, so you can make intelligent choices and live in a society where you are not judged.
Sharon Lowen, danseuse

I’m disillusioned with the idea of Independence. When I read about people being framed as terrorists, and their fundamental rights being violated, I fear even I can fall victim to this.
Danish Husain, theatre actor


Freedom, badly handled, becomes a beautiful opportunity to fall from grace. It’s farcical that in the world’s largest democracy, freedom is powerless to grant the right to disagree without fear of reprisal.
AJ Raina, photographer

Freedom means everything. But I’m not free. All these concepts are self-imposed imprisonments.—Roshan Seth, actor
I’m enjoying complete freedom. I’m a guy, I wear saris and I do my talk shows wearing that dress on national TV. No one objects. However, I realise I’m a privileged citizen of a regressive country and people like me constitute just one percent of our total population.
Begum Nawazish Ali, TV show host

As long as any of my sisters in Pakistan or India is enslaved, in patriarchy, domestic violence, honor killings, bonded labor, illiteracy, then no matter how educated or wealthy I am, I’m not free.
Bina Shah, novelist

Independence has provided me with a national identity but it hasn’t meant freedom. I find myself enslaved to narrow ideas of patriotism. I’m trying to break free. And writing a book on Delhi, the capital of the ‘enemy’ nation, is my first step.
Raza Rumi, blogger

Personal freedom is crucial to my growth as an artist. ‘Independence Day’ is a distant celebration for me. Each year, as mid-August approaches I am conscious of a sense of loss — I wonder what could have been had the subcontinent not been splintered.
Sehba Sarwar, poet

Being a (somewhat) responsible parent, I will share with my children the notion that today we remember our national heroes. And amidst the nationalistic pop nuggets being broadcast round the clock, I hope they hear Yeh watan tumhara hai, tum ho Pasban iss kay, yeh chaman tumhara hai, tum ho naghma khwan iss kay…
Shandana Minhas, author