On this Independence day, I'd like to discuss something else--interdependence. The concept has been on my mind since I began college last week. It's funny how important a concept it is yet, it's a word that we don't hear it very often. So, I wanted to use today as an opportunity to do just that.
If you think about it, interdependence is something that applies to our lives at every level. We are interdependent with nature--needing the oxygen trees provide while they thrive on the carbon dioxide we emit. We are interdependent with each other on all levels--from emotional to survival. We depend on animals to sustain the ecology as they on us not to destroy exactly that. We need each other, don't we? Take it to the national level. We need our farmers, our lawyers, our teachers, industry, our artists, our singers etc. We need each other. Let's go global. We live in a world where a stock market crash in one country can push the planet in the dark secret of economic recession. We depend on other countries to grow the food we need.. We need each other.
Rather than seeing ourselves as independent, let us see ourselves mutually dependent--inter-dependent. Of course, we are ultimately alone, the way we were born and the way we will die. But that's not that the happy existence we are all (every single one of us) driven towards. Let's be grateful for our freedom, let us remember how delicate the concept of freedom is, and not take it for granted. Let's think of how to protect and nourish it as it were the most delicate plants or child. As we celebrate India's independence, let's remember that there are so many in this independent nation who are not yet free, who don't have a choice. Who are bound to the slavery of an existence they cannot escape--some through poverty, gender, a physical handicap, our cities don't make allowances for. Others, through learning disabilities our schools do not counteract. It saddens me when I think not all my fellow citizens have the same freedom I do.
Somewhere down the line, we are intertwined. The progress we are so (rightfully) proud of is finite if it does not accomodate such a large percentage of our large population. India is surely confident, growing, rising. But we are intertwined with those that do not rise, who are not confident, whose wealth and security don't grow. Independence is more than a date on a calendar. Are we really free? Remember, we have a choice, and we can make the choice to help others have that choice. Don't forget to use your independence wisely. Happy Independence Day!!