Representational Image
Representational Image

Swami Brahmavidananda Saraswati

Throughout the country I hear a lot of protests and agitations to preserve our freedom. The fact that there are so many protests and agitations shows that India is a vibrant democracy albeit a bit chaotic. These demands for our freedom and our rights are indicative of our healthy democratic functioning. But nowhere do I see any group or individual speaking about responsibilities towards society.

At its least minimum a citizen can abide by the laws and regulations. People forget that not only do we have a freedom in the society to be who we are, but we also have some inherent responsibilities towards the society and nation at a large, if we have to remain a vibrant democracy.

True freedom is tested only when you can abuse it. This is one of the basic premises of a democratic society. However it takes a lot of wisdom to not abuse that freedom. If freedom is abused on a regular basis, society will descend into chaos and anarchy.

Disrupters though necessary in a healthy democracy, cannot govern unless they change their style and attitude of functioning. It is this descent into chaos and anarchy that makes the society vulnerable to vested interests, groups or government becoming dictatorial and holding the society to ransom in the name of peace and order. When the society is in a state of anarchy many people will willingly allow harsh measures to develop or bring back a sense of order in the society.

In the movie, ‘Spiderman’, Spiderman’s uncle makes a very important statement, ’With great power comes great responsibility’. I would like to add, ‘With great freedom comes great responsibility.’ If we do not protect our freedom and prevent the society from descending into chaos and anarchy we lose that freedom. A freedom abused is very often a freedom lost. Therefore it is wise to not abuse our freedom and also think about what our rights and responsibilities are, in a democratic society. Both rights and responsibilities have to go hand in hand. One cannot be emphasized at the expense of the other.

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