Yesterday I saw the movie, “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans”…
It was a by and large a simple movie and depicted the most common storyline of movies all over the world. It had an oppressor and an oppressed. And in the climax the oppressed rise against the strong and invincible evil forces to emerge as victors. However what caught my attention was one specific line spoken by one of the vampire council members… He said “Freedom is a disease; If one has it, all will have it”.
And my mind wandered away.. It wandered of to understand how important freedom is to us. China does not provide freedom to its people but still the Chinese people are happy and contend with the government. During the Beijing Olympics the Chinese proved more than sufficiently that they were as great nation; A force to be reckoned with. Not only China, but also Pakistan was more stable under the dictator ship of General Parvez Musharaff than it is now under a civilian government. We could say the year of the emergency was one of India golden years. Indira Gandhi’s 20 point program put India’s financial state back on track. The Agricultural produce increased and all rioting between Hindus and Muslims ceased during the period. And I continue to Wonder... Is freedom nothing more than a disease... Do we as individuals’ deserve it? Can freedom for people actually work??
My mind wandered off to a story I had heard when I was a kid. The story of “The Wolf and the Dog”. The story speaks of a wolf that lived in a dense forest. He had to toil hard to get his food and would have to go on for days without it sometimes. He had to struggle even to get a small drink of water at the pond. He was always covered with fleas and hardly got a good bath each day. To add to all this; his cave was small and cold. His thick fur wouldn’t protect him at all times from the cold winter nights. His life went on like this, Miserable and uninterrupted until one day he met his long lost cousin the Dog.
He was shocked to see that he had shed most of his fur. The Dog replied calmly that he had met Man, who considered him his best friend and allowed him to share his cozy house which had fire to keep him warm. When the Wolf complained to him about the fleas, the Dog told him how man gave him a nice worm bath everyday so as to keep the fleas at bay. And finally when the Dog told him the kinds of food he was treated with for just barking at strangers, The Wolf was all too eager to join him.
As they both made way to the Man’s house the wolf saw that the Dogs neck had a ring like area without fur. When the Wolf enquired about it, The Dog yet again calmly replied, “Oh!! That’s because Man keeps me on a leash!!!!”. The Wolf refused to go any further with the Dog.
Obviously the Dog would never understand why the Wolf preferred a life of hardships to a life of Luxury. He would never understand why the wolf would prefer to live shabbily when he can get a good bath every day and enjoy the loving care of his master showered upon him.
In a way most of the people living in democracies are very much like the Wolf. We understand the need for freedom and can’t do without it. We accept the hardships and responsibilities which come along with it. But we will never be able to explain to others why it is so. Why is it that we cannot trade our freedom for a life of luxury? Why we prefer to work our way up painstakingly and slowly when we can get all of it for minor barter. Freedom is addictive. It is like marijuana. The more you have the more you need and we are all addicted to freedom. And soon this addiction or disease will spread to nations where people have never known the joys of this addiction through a new medium.
Freedom has always demanded a price from us. While we see the achievements of a dictator ship or a communist regime, we often fail to see the kind a damage it causes to a nation in the long run. The positive effects of the emergency were almost immediately lost once democracy was restored back. Democracy took time, but now India is not only stable financially but is one major economic powers in the world. Its agricultural produce exceeds its own needs a lot of it is also exported. George W Bush manipulated the Americans for eight years with the tools democracy provided; but even then America has its chance to do away with the Flawed Foreign policy which it adopted during the bush regime and start anew. USSR was much more powerful than china during its hay days and had achieved greater technological feats. Yet finally it fell. It won’t before the Chinese have a taste of this freedom drug and the communist regime meets a similar fate.