Protecting our freedom

Protecting our freedom Tue, 18 Mar 2014

Protecting our freedom

As a country, our roots are deeply embedded in the philosophy of liberalism. Liberal values define India'€™s ideals, and we at the Congress party are proud to be some of the most passionate advocates for them. We are fully committed to democratic principles of transparency and inclusiveness, unlike many others who simply pay lip service to liberal values that they never intend to uphold.

Years back, when India attained freedom, we were a nation that went into celebration and mourning at the same time. India was free, but still under siege by a vicious ideology of intolerance, the ideology of RSS. It was this intolerance that took Mahatma Gandhi from us and the heartrending words of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru '€“ '€œThe light has gone out of our lives'€¦'€ '€“ still echo in our minds whenever we remember that painful day.

We were a nation destroyed, but not defeated. As custodians of a newborn nation that had just lost its father, we had the great responsibility to protect our glorious liberal traditions that were under threat.

Our moment of triumph came when we scripted India'€™s Constitution and ensured that our people enjoy real freedom. Thanks to our Constitution, every Indian today has the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to assemble peacefully, the freedom to form associations or unions, the freedom to move freely throughout India, the freedom to settle in any part of India and the freedom to practice any profession.

We'€™re immensely proud of our success in preserving India'€™s liberal values. India today is the proud inheritor of a way of life that adopts the best democratic ideals the world has to offer. Our liberalism is about accepting the world with open arms without letting it affect our basic values as people. These liberal values are what set us apart in the community of nations today and make us a cultural superpower.

Our liberal ideology is evident in the words of our leaders. When the rights of our LGBT community were struck down by a court, Sonia Gandhi said: '€œWe are proud that our culture has always been an inclusive and tolerant one...I hope that Parliament will address this issue and uphold the Constitutional guarantee of life and liberty to all citizens of India, including those directly affected by this judgment.'€

The RSS, which drives the agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has been unabashed in baring its intentions. They recently said they will not compromise on '€œmoral values, social system and traditions in the name of individual freedom'€ when it comes to issues like '€œlive-in relationships'€ and '€œhomosexuality.'€

Last October, they barged into the office of The Hindu after they published an article against RSS. The journalist who wrote it received threats.

In January, they attacked the office of a political party in Ghaziabad after their leader expressed his opinion on Kashmir.

In February, they carried out protests and issued threats to the staff of The Caravan magazine. They had done a cover story on RSS activist Swami Aseemanand who is in jail on terror charges.

In February again, they threatened another senior Indian journalist and news presenter over a mere tweet.

They are not hiding their intentions any longer. They'€™re rejecting the principles of tolerance and openness which our country holds so dear and we as a people must be on our guard -- our freedom is at stake.

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