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Be a Freedom Fighter. Details inside

Most of us have no clue what it means to not be independent, says actor Imran Khan.

entertainment Updated: Aug 16, 2010 01:30 IST
Imran Khan
Imran Khan
Hindustan Times

It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.” - Author unknown. As we celebrate our sixty-third year of Independence, something has occurred to me. Most of us have no clue what it means to not be independent. We were born free, and have always been fortunate enough to take it for granted. We don't know what it's like to live with tyranny and we've never felt the frustration and despair that comes with it.

I remember studying history in school. I wasn't the best student, but I was pretty interested in it. I particularly remember the way I felt when I read about the struggle for independence from the British Raj. The laws and taxes imposed on our country were nothing short of insane, and it was plain for all to see. All except the people who were in power. I'm sure you know that salt was taxed… Salt! Come on! It used to drive me nuts just reading about it, can you imagine what it was like for the people who actually lived that way? No wonder the entire nation rebelled. They were pushed to the breaking point, what else would they do?

Imran KhanThousands upon thousands of men and women, not so different from you and me, stood up and fought for their rights, and even though we don't study their names in history class, and no statues or monuments were built to honour them, they were all freedom fighters. Each one of them is responsible for the freedom we enjoy today. These people fought and died for the chance to do something that we can all do today: Vote - the chance to choose who will lead our country, and who will give us a better tomorrow.

I'm afraid that we've forgotten the sacrifices made not so long ago.By our parents, and by our grandparents. We've lived free for all our lives, and have never had to defend that freedom from anyone. And so we have lost value for it. It no longer seems like something to be cherished, or even maintained. But the truth is, it must be maintained.

We do have to stand up and take responsibility for the state of our country today, and the state it will be in years from now. Whether you realize it or not, that power is divided equally amongst every single one of us. It's really up to you; are you going to sit back and be content with what we have? Or will you uphold the tradition of those nameless freedom fighters who fought for something larger than themselves: their country? Happy Independence Day.

Read more Imran Khan columns

First Published: Aug 15, 2010 18:15 IST