Reflecting on autonomy & responsibility this Independence Day

Reflecting on autonomy & responsibility this Independence Day


Geet Jalota

Geet Jalota

361 week ago — 3 min read

Independence Day is round the corner and I thought it was time to examine what independence means to me — the essence of it. All that our forefathers fought for and what value it holds for us. For me, celebrating it on a particular day, holds meaning because it meant so much to my parents and grandparents. As a first generation-er born in an independent India, I don’t realise that the day saw the culmination of the freedom struggle. It was treasured because it brought an end to the bloodshed, the struggles, the agony of being slaves in our own country. Sometimes in my haste to live my life perhaps I do neglect to appreciate theirs. 


On the thought of slavery, I started wondering if I am really free. Physically yes, but financially and mentally? My experience in an independent India has been different from that of my parents. As a woman, it has given me choices of identity and who I want to be. However, as a professional, it has brought home to me the importance of autonomy. Just like age, autonomy too is a state of mind. You can be free but still be tied to somebody’s approval. That, I find lacking at many places. How you want to do things is dictated by age old customs and “experience”. Take for instance caste based reservation. Even after 70 years of independence if the youth of today is still fighting for caste based reservation, then there is something wrong with our education at home as well as in schools and colleges. If opportunity is still controlled by castes, then what right do we have to call ourselves a knowledge economy or a scientific one?   Autonomy brings with it a huge amount of accountability, which perhaps as a nation we must work on. 

Entrepreneurs seek autonomy. So we too have a responsibility — towards society, stakeholders, consumers, employees, statutory authorities and future generations. We are responsible to society because we draw its resources with permission and towards stakeholders because without them we would not exist. To consumers we owe quality goods and service. To employees we owe fair wages and taking care of employee welfare, health, growth and awareness of their rights. 

Towards statutory authorities we owe then to pay the dues in full and on time. And to future generations we are accountable for preserving this wonderful world which has been given to us for safe keeping, not only to enjoy but also to contribute; to give to the world while we also take from it.       

That is what independence must mean – independence with accountability.  

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