Freedom is Not About Choices | UPSC

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IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 17th Aug 2020

“Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.” –Theodore N. Vail

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT #113 :“Freedom is Not About Choices

Freedom is Not About Choices

Debashis Chatterjee

Debashis Chatterjee, the author of ‘Timeless Leadership’, is the Director of IIM Kozhikode,(Freedom is Not About Choices)

      HEADLINES:

Freedom and identity, the right to be

      CENTRAL THEME:

The aspirational values in the Constitution will make sense only when the average Indian realises the freedom to be

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 4 : Freedom and Discipline

      MAINS QUESTION:

At its core, freedom is not about choices; it is rather about identity. Comment -(GS 4)

      LEARNING: 

The author has beautifully scripted :

  • MK Gandhi on Freedom
  • Meaning to Freedom
  • Meaning of Freedom
  • Swarajya Concept

      INTRODUCTION: 

MAHATMA GANDHI ON FREEDOM

  • We must be content to die if we cannot live as free men and women.
  • Man has to thank himself for his dependence. He can be independent as soon as he wills it.

Freedom is never dear at any price. It is the breath of life. What would a man not pay for living?

It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human Beings of that precious right.

      BODY: 

BOUND BY LAWS

  • The final quest of all of life is freedom.
  • This means that life as we know it is not free.
  • We are all struggling from bondage to freedom.

WHAT BINDS US

  • We are bound by one law or the other.
  • What is a law? Any event or phenomenon that repeats itself is a law.

EXAMPLE
An apple seed will always produce an apple.

  • This seed will keep on producing apples — perhaps one million apples will come from that one seed.
  • An apple seed will not produce bananas because an apple seed is bound by its own law — it is programmed to produce apples.
  • All of nature is nothing but an expression of laws — the repeated occurrence of form and phenomena.

By this law a fish learns to swim and an eagle learns to soar in the sky. 

  • By this very law our hearts beat 72 times a minute and our body temperature is maintained at 98.6° Fahrenheit.
  • So to break a law is to go against nature and risk one’s life.

FINDING FREEDOM

CAN WE EVER BE FREE

  • We can, provided we learn to look beyond nature’s law-bound forms toward something deeper that is always free.
  • Take a long rope and tie it into a knot in the middle.
  • As you tighten the knot it takes a definite shape.
  • The knot is bound by its own nature.

If the knot were alive, it would imagine itself to be a knot that is limited within the shape of the knot.

  • But someone who has tied the knot will know that all that it requires for the knot to be free is to pull at the right place — the knot breaks free and straightens into a rope again.

So what is required to find freedom is just this knowledge that you are not a knot.

SPIRUTUAL TOUCH

  • THE SECRET : Just this awareness that if you look beyond your physical form to your original state, which is formless and free, you indeed become free.
  • FORMLESS STATE : What is that formless state? Classical Indian wisdom calls this state adhyātma.
  • ADHYATMA : The compound word adhyātma is a combination of two words, adhi+atma which means awareness of self.
  • POWER OF SELF : The human body-mind complex is animated and powered by this spiritual dimension called atma that can be described as soul or self.

The body is the hardware, the mind is the software and atma is the UPS (uninterruptible and independent power source).

  • CONCEPT OF SWARAJYA : Living in the light of atma or self is the true meaning of Swarajya. Etymologically, Swarajya means, swena rajate or self-luminous existence.

LET US SIP A CUP OF TEA !

  • Take the case of a person who burns his lips while sipping a cup of hot tea.
  • He may think that the tea has burnt him.
  • It is not the tea but the invisible heat that permeates the tea that has burnt him.
  • Heat is not a property of the tea but it can pervade the tea and make it appear to be hot.

Likewise, it is the atma that permeated the body mind that is responsible for our experience of the world.

ON CHOICES

  • MANY CHOICES CONFUSE : Many people confuse freedom with multiplication of choices.

Multiplication of television channels, political outfits, or shampoo brands tend to confuse us rather than help us choose better.
 

  • Fewer good options would have been a better way to weed out undesirable options.
  • The free being that is our self, expresses itself not through an algorithm but awareness.

      IASbhai Windup: 

In the Mahabharata, in a deep dialogue, Yakhsa asks Yudhishthira this question, What is the strangest thing in this world?

Yudhishthira responds: The most startling thing is, though humans have a mortal body, everybody goes about their life as if they are going to live in their body forever.

  • The awareness of atma, inherent in pure being, sets us free from the illusion that we are nothing more than our bodies and our minds.

NOT BEING CO-OPTED

  • KNOT OF ILLUSION : The illusion that we are this body-mind complex unravels itself as realisation of our being dawns on us.

Anindavatam svadhaya tadekam -one ultimate being in us that exists freely by itself.-Upanishads

  • QUEST TO FREEDOM : In the stillness of being, not in the quest for being this and that or the other, we find the doorway to our own freedom.
  • THE PREAMBLE’s PROMISE : Indian Constitution promises the delivery of aspirational values of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity for its citizens.
  • MODERN FREEDOM : They make sense only when the average Indian realises the freedom to be and not be co-opted by the politics of identity, machinations of the market or the dictatorship of the digital world.
  • REAL SWARAJYA : Swarajya in thought and education that liberates the free being, sa vidya ya vimuktaye, can only rescue India from a myopia of the post-colonial leadership.

AWARENESS IS LIFE , WEAKNESS IS DEATH – SWAMI VIVEKANANDA

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL | Freedom is Not About Choices

TRENDING NOW : Important The Hindu Editorials 

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