Freedom from the Past..!    

And as we proudly hoist the flag today, imagine our surprise and consternation if the flag doesn’t rise, “Hey,” we shout, “Come on, we are hoisting you up. Fly free!”

“I can’t!” says the flag.

“And why not?” we ask, huffing and puffing to pull the rope that holds the flag, but the flag refuses to go up!

“Because I can’t leave the ground, I have too much baggage! I’m stuck!”

 Now I’m going to move away from that rather grim picture I’ve painted for you. Two days ago, billionaire and Infosys’s chairman Mr Narayana Murthy, quoted Former US President Franklin Roosevelt, who defined a true democracy as having four freedoms; freedom of expression, freedom from fear, freedom of faith, and freedom from want!

But, and do get this straight, all these four freedoms are birthed and are possible only if we have freedom from the past. I’m going to quickly take you to the Chandrayaan-3 take-off to the moon: How glorious the take-off was, how proud we felt as a country, but lo and behold, a little later we watched concerned as something fell off the rocket, and a little later some else and something more. But even as we show concern, the scientists smile, because they know that for the rocket to rise, the boosters on either side have to fall off and later other parts too, to allow the rocket to rise, go faster and finally land on the moon.

The same for our flag, the same for our democracy. We need to give up our past. Independence means getting rid of the baggage of the past and moving on. Stop talking of the horrors of the partition, or what the Mughals did or what the British took away. Leave hurts behind because in getting ensnared in them, we don’t move forward. Europe was once made up of little kingdoms that warred with each other, till one day, they let go of their past, decided that to become powerful and strong, they needed to form a union, the EU came together, and today is a formidable force in the world.

When we refuse to give up our past, which often are memories of injustice, and terror, and slavery and subjugation, it fuels today’s anger and hate and violence! And this fuel, these reminders of the past are what politicians use to keep you in that state of unrest forever.

Today on Independence Day, stop them from allowing us to fly high.

As you celebrate Independence Day, lean forward a bit; do you hear the flag being hoisted screaming joyfully, “I am free! I am not weighed down by the baggage of the past!”?

Then and only then will we be truly an independent nation…!
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at and can be reached at