Free citizens with a responsible freedom
The hallmark of true freedom is living within proper boundary

Mangthianlal Thangniang *

The hallmark of true freedom is best described in the setting of proper boundary. True freedom demands duties and responsibilities. Enjoying limited freedom within a specific boundary under a framework of morally upright thoughts and practices can be characterized as setting proper boundary with an exercise of responsible freedom.

Our country India has come a long way to be called Free India and Republic of India. We know how we have come this far. Some of our freedom fighters are still alive with us today while thousands of them have already gone. We know or we are told how our people and nation India was under the bondage of British empire and how much we had suffered.

Our freedom, honour and choices were taken away. Then we fight back with honour and courage and gave ourselves this Free India after laying down many brave lives. We owe greatly to those valiant men and women who gave their supreme sacrifice for the independence of our land and the freedom of its citizens. Forever we will remain ever grateful to them. Our indebtedness calls for enjoying and exercising our freedom with great care and responsibility.

As we celebrate this valuable freedom in our mundane life, it is pertinent to look at four areas of great concern as a country we need to address with matters related to citizenry's freedom.

First, we must know that science and medical research and practice has limit. We live in a generation where it can be possible very soon for gay couples to have children due to stem cells research. Out of the many questions, for instance, who will be the mother may be one disturbing question. But bigger issue involved is whether we have a Government of India policy drawing the lines saying this much is enough in matters of scientific research and medical practices?

Scientific research and medical practices cannot be said that they have no limits. If so, the result will be as danger as allowing mining engineers and oil companies to have no limits and do whatever they want with the whole earth, especially highly endangered economic-cultural practices, socio-ethical values, bio-environment, wild animals and flora-fauna. If oil companies are given freedom to chart their own course, within one decade they will surely destroy the whole earth, forget about Manipur or highly eco fragile North East India.

Second, freedom with limitation is what many in this generation do not want to buy. Our freedom must be characterised by responsibility and duty. We cannot say that I feel like smoking and smoke anywhere. Others also have the freedom to live in a smoke free world. Likewise, many of us claim for our rights. But we cannot say that I feel like doing it or it's in the gene, so I have the right and can do it. So, our government must protect my right. On the contrary, we must know that freedom operates with limits and anything and everything cannot fall under the banner of human rights or freedom of conscience.

Another one concerns about lifestyle with ethical and cultural responsibility. It is time we seriously ponder upon lifestyles and cultural practices which gives no offence to God and our fellow human beings. When millions of our country men and women are without basic medi-care, education, shelter and food, living extravagant lifestyle beyond our requirements need to be re-evaluated. Practising, accepting and assessing truly compassionate and composing multi-cultural ethos in the light of our lifestyle will be a very welcome approach for the future of our nation.

The last important thing is about law with moral boundary. Recently when the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting department want to censor motion pictures in India, someone who is a big shot in Bollywood world once shot back to let every man regulate themselves. Now that is a very dangerous opinion. If everyone can regulate ourselves why do we need law and order? If we all can regulate ourselves with our wisdom and education, why do we need traffic police on roads?

Let each regulate ourselves and drive in our expressways, highways, cities and country sides. The result will be chaos. Cannibals feel like eating. So, can they have the right to eat everyone? Someone feels like raping and will he be given the right to regulate himself? Some groups or regions have genuine grievances against the government.

Can they do any act of terrorism to push forward their agendas? We must love and care people who follow other dangerous and unhealthy lifestyles. But everything that we say and call alternative lifestyles or human rights are not human rights all. On the opposite, they counter moral order and stand against true freedom.

We need laws and legal framework that operates within a higher principle. Laws and jurisprudence which based itself only on education or mere intellectuality or feeling will have many shortfalls. Therefore, India must rely on moral law which can distinguish right from wrong, good from evil and truth from falsehood.

Our state and nation's future is in great danger if our legal-jurisprudence has no relation with moral values and is independent of its own. If moral force, ultimately, is not the driving force and foundation of all our legal framework and theories, I am afraid the time will not be long as a nation we will have no right to talk about in matters of right and wrong which is after all supposed to be the hallmark of all laws and legal affairs. This ultimately anchors truth.

Independence is good. Free citizens in a free nation is good. But it will be the path of destruction if we chose to follow a jurisprudence and philosophical thought which has no based on moral integrity-authority. Freedom to govern ourselves as a nation is good. But it will be wretched slavery if we have no foundation to base what is right or wrong. Setting free ourselves from the yoke of those who put us into bondage is good.

But it will be servitude if we follow the trend of the time and have no cultural and ethical values which are unchanging even in the midst of a changing world. Adapting to lifestyles and ideas of the day is good. But freedom from conscience in the mere pursuit of new ideas and happiness will destroy self and things we hold dear and near.

The time has come all fellow citizens emphasise and work hard on freedom with responsibility and accountability. But most importantly, as we continue to struggle and work against forces of injustice and servitude in our individual's and national's arena, we must be daily reminded that moral and ethical foundation based on true love and justice must be always at the core of everything we do and theorised.

* Mangthianlal Thangniang wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The author serves as President & CEO at Glocal Volunteers
This article was posted on August 21, 2013

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