1. The power or right to act, speak or think as one wants.
2. The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
This is the Google definition of freedom. What do you actually think freedom means? Is freedom a state of mind or is it the ability to express oneself, or an act, without any boundaries or restrictions.
In 1947, after so many back-breaking wars, India finally got the freedom it always wanted and made a constitution a couple of years later. It is quite common that when a constitution is created, it must include some fundamental rights. For India, these fundamental rights included the Right to Equality, Right to Freedom, Right against Exploitation, Right to Freedom of Religion, Right to Constitutional Remedies and, the final one, Constitutional and Educational rights.
Let me stress upon the penultimate word of the previous sentence, Educational Rights. If you ever visit India and you ask a teenager about their education, they reply with a very common sentence: “I’m doing my engineering 1st year”. This a very popular response to this question in India. If you hear someone say they are studying Arts, you have found something quite rare. From childhood, since the day we are born, many of our parents decide what we will become when we grow up. A boy may become an engineer and a girl may be a doctor. I believe, education is something which we should choose ourselves; so, here I talk about educational freedom.
If a person wants to become a dancer, it is his or her wish to do it. It is their choice and no one has the right to tell them what to do. Yes, it is true that most of our parents strive for our success, but do we need to regret the decision they are making for us? Education is given to a child for them to acquire knowledge about the world around them, allowing them to explore it in the way they want to. Education also teaches moral and ethical values; it is not just about what two plus two equals and why oxygen exists as a gas.
In India, people make judgments based on stereotypes when someone takes up Arts instead of Science. I know this to be true as I have experienced it myself. If a student takes up Arts it does not mean that they are not capable of doing maths; it it is just that they chose what they want to study. We have the utmost respect towards engineers and doctors. However, students should not want to take up these careers because of “what society will say” if they do not.
There is a great need for true educational freedom in my country, an education which is not forced upon by our parents or society. What kind of an education does a country provide if the entrance exam decides where the life of a student will lead? Do not let the career choose you. Do not let society norms tell you what you want to do. The only thing that comes between your life and what you want it to be is you. Go explore the world, make mistakes, set yourself right, fall, bounce back… it is your life so make it yours.
India is heading forward and creating new institutes for different courses. The opportunity for us to create professions from our passions is finally arising.
Here is a video portraying the society from Anu Aunty (a fictional character)’s perspective. This video sums up what youth want to say and what parents need to hear in a funny way.