This August 15th, I didn’t feel free.

I know what it is.
Do I?
I am not sure.
If I described it, you’d recognize it perhaps.
It’s a pain that begins in my head, reaches my chest, squeezes my heart, and leaves me perspiring…gasping for air. Then I push it away. I tell myself that August 15 is a joyous occasion. It is to be celebrated with pride, because India won its freedom on this day. The pain then becomes a dull thud in the background. Is this the pain of corruption that we experience every day of our lives?

Anna Hazare - Civil Society of India.I had got used to the pain of this corruption, because I had to live. I told myself that we were better off than many other countries of this world – that we at least had the freedom to express ourselves. It was a way to console myself – a sort of white flag.  But this year was different. This year, Anna Hazare made us realize that while we had numbed ourselves to the pain, the cancer of corruption was growing unchecked in our country. He and his team made us wake up and reflect upon the issue. We realized that we needed and effective Lokpal bill as the tool to surgically remove this cancer that’s killing our country!

But we also realized that it wasn’t going to be easy. That another struggle was needed. A struggle that Anna Hazare called the Second Freedom Struggle; a struggle that’d help us remove this putrid mass of corruption. Unfortunately, when Anna attempted to achieve his ends through peaceful means, his voice was stifled. He was detained even before he could reach the protest venue. This freedom struggle has made us realize another bitter reality. We still aren’t free to voice our opinions…we still are in the grips of fascism…and that this battle against corruption is going to be a long one.

This is why I could not inspire myself to present a new Independence Day drawing this year. I hope you will understand.

Thank you for reading.