India will celebrate 66 years of freedom and independence means different things to different people. Priya Adhyaru-Majithia asks Amdavadis what it means to them.
Hoisting the Tricolour, attending a parade, singing patriotic songs and the national anthem or listening to the annual speech by the prime minister and president – that is how many of us will spend the Independence Day. But 66 years after India attained independence from British rule, the idea of freedom might differ from people to people. Here is what Amdavadis have to say…
To break the rules
PURVI NANAVATI, Gynaecologist, 42
Freedom for me is being free from responsibilities and formalities. To be able to freely indulge in carefree and childlike moments. The right to cherish life experiences before they turn into memory. To be really mischievous, break rules, to play with friends and quarrel, to eat without washing hands and eating cheese, butter, candy and ice cream without restriction – that is also freedom to me. Freedom is to be able to laugh and enjoy the smallest things in life.
To wander, to explore
SAURIN SHAH, High Court lawyer, 46
Freedom to me is to ride, to wander and to explore. From August 14 to 17, I will explore Kirti Mandir in Porbandar, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi who inspired India’s freedom struggle, on my bike. I plan to do a 211-km coastal ride to Diu. I have been riding to various places and interiors of villages since I turned 18. Then I lost my biking freedom due to job constraints. After a long gap of a decade and half, I grabbed the opportunity to ride to Rann of Kutch in January last year. Since then I have been enjoying my freedom.
To have my own space
AZBA KANSARA, 19, student
I believe in freedom of speech, of thought and of action. Freedom for me is to have my space, decide my path in life. The ability to plan in my own way without external pressures — be it social, peer or parental — is freedom to me. Be it in relationships, career or choice of clothes, others can guide or advise me but leave me alone to decide and act in my own way is what freedom means to me.
To express what I feel
JASMINE SHAJI, 39, teacher
Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Yes. Responsibility is the price of freedom. Freedom to me includes adhering to rules and yet being able to voice your opinion fearlessly. Freedom is the courage to object and express what I feel and think is right in relative contexts of circumstances and right to behave in the manner I can justify to myself. However, freedom does not mean violating rights of others or my responsibilities.
Choosing my palette
HARSHIL PATEL, 30, researcher and artist
The liberty to fall in love with a region or town and to feel a bond with that place is freedom for me. Freedom to me is to fall in love with shapes, colours, arches, structures and sometimes houses, havelis or buildings. It means having conversations with houses, touch and pamper the shapes with my strokes. To freely paint on my canvas and walk hand in hand with my imagination, moods and ideas.
To work when I want to
VIJAY RAJPUT, 42, autorickshaw driver
Being able to decide my workload is freedom to me. I can say no without compulsion. I may earn less but I decide my comfort zone. It also means being free from diseases, manage to stay alone and work hard. Not being bound to a fixed time job and taking commuters at my convenience is my idea of freedom.
The story appeared on page 8 of Ahmedabad Mirror on August 15, 2013.

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