Republic Day

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, into that heaven of freedom my father let my country awake. Where the mind has not broken up into narrow domestic walls…what a beautiful poem by Rabindranath Tagore! Do these words seem unrealistic in our country today?  Yes! For if we reflect on our lives, most of us would agree that though we have achieved freedom, it seems so far away from our reach! For we are burdened with so many things…. We seem to be in a rat race for power, fame , money and luxuries, that we often forget to notice our neighbour in need. Besides there is so much of jealousy and unforgiveness that it traps us like a bird in a cage. But is freedom so unachievable?  

There are two aspects that we have to reflect on to enjoy true freedom – our relationship with God and with the people around us.

In the book of Genesis, we read of an important event. The Israelites were made slaves in Egypt. They cried out to the Lord and our merciful God worked out miraculous signs through Moses and brought them out of Egypt to freedom.  But as the Israelites travelled through the desert, they often sinned. They forgot to maintain their relationship with God and were not living in harmony with each other. So, the Lord gave them the Ten Commandments through Moses which would teach them how to live in peace with God and man, so as to live a fulfilling life. Some people followed the commandments mechanically without true spirit while others just ignored the teachings. This led to wars and a lot of problems for the Israelites as seen in the Old Testament.

In the history of our country, we see that we too were made slaves by the British. They plundered all our wealth and made us work for them in our own land. God in His mercy through many of our freedom fighters rescued us and gave us freedom. There was a lot of chaos after independence in India, as a lot of divisions were created among the people by the British before they left. So, to put things in order and we could live in peace with each other, our leaders formed a team led by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, who gave us the Constitution of India which came into effect on 26th January 1950. This day is known as Republic day.

The Constitution of India was formulated keeping in mind the entire population of India. It speaks about justice, equality, liberty and fraternity among its citizens. If we reflect on the constitution, we will be able to draw similarities with the second most important commandment given to us by Jesus – Love your neighbour as yourself.  But sadly, if we look at our country we are very far from ‘loving our neighbour’. So today, let us take some time off, read and ponder on our Constitution and strive to make our country truly free!

-Chiara Gomes