What freedom means to the young

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Fifteen achievers from the tricity set the record straight as they dwelt on patriotism, secularism, population explosion, education & a more egalitarian society.

Raised in an India that has been free for 71 years, it’s easy to presume that the Gen Z doesn’t care for our hard-won freedom. But that is far from true. Fifteen achievers from the Chandigarh tricity set the record straight as they dwelt on patriotism, secularism, population explosion, education & a more egalitarian society.

‘Give us jobs’

Ruchi Singhal, 29, research scholar, NIPER.

What makes you proud of India?

India’s unity in diversity and humanity are its strength.

Where has India lagged so far?

Reservation and the increasing number of rape cases are a shame.

Who is your icon of freedom struggle?

Each one of those who laid their life for the country is my icon.

What does patriotism mean to you?

Patriotism is reflected your deeds, we must performing our duty with honesty.

What is the one thing that India must do to be a great nation by 2025?

Rising joblessness is the biggest challenge. If provided employment, an army of skilled youth is ready to contribute towards the development of the nation.

One freedom that the Chandigarh tricity needs.

Freedom from fear for girls.

‘Stick to secularism’

Ananya Kamboj, 14, young author

What makes you proud of India?

Our ability to co-exist peacefully despite the numerous divergent philosophies, castes, languages, religions and ideologies.

What does patriotism mean to you?

Patriotism is loving your country, and being loyal to it.

Where has India lagged so far?

India is yet to eliminate economic inequality.

One thing that India must do to be a great nation by 2025.

India’s uniqueness lies in its plurality, it must remain committed to secularism and not be swayed by fanatical elements.

Who is your icon of the freedom struggle?

It’s Udham Singh. From his name, his words and his actions, it was evident that he had India in his soul.

One freedom Chandigarh tricity needs.

Freedom from stray dogs.

‘Control population’

Vrinda, gold medalist in national meet for the blind

What makes you proud of India?

I love how people from different religions and backgrounds can live together as brothers.

Where has India lagged so far?

Sadly, some people still have a backward mentality here.

Who is your icon of the freedom struggle?

Jhansi ki Rani because of her valour.

What does patriotism mean to you?

True love for our nation.

What is the one thing that India must do to be great nation by 2025?

India must control its population as it leads to a host of other problems.

One freedom that Chandigarh tricity needs

Freedom from superstitions and backward ideas

‘Free yourself of prejudice’

Kush Bansal, Class XII CBSE topper

What makes you proud of India?

India is a melting pot of many cultures, dialects, religions and traditions. This diversity blends perfectly with the natural diversity and gives us a unique sense of Indian-ness.

Where does India lag?

It has failed to ensure quality education and health at the grassroots. There can’t be any jobs without vocational training.

Who is your icon of the freedom struggle?

Mahatma Gandhi. His simplicity and devotion to his principles of satya and ahimsa resonated with the masses.

What does patriotism mean to you?

It means we must remove our lenses of prejudice.

What is the one thing that India must do to be great nation by 2025?

India must reduce its population drastically by 2025. What’s the rush to exist if you cannot live??

One freedom that our tricity needs

Freedom from stray cattle.

‘Stay united for greatness’

Aditi Sheoran, lawyer

What makes you proud of India?

Our multilingual and multicultural heritage.

Where does India lag?

We lack first class infrastructure in healthcare and education sector in villages and Tier 3 cities.

Who is your icon of the freedom struggle?

Bhagat Singh for his ideology of socialism and communism.

What does patriotism mean to you?

It means respecting fellow Indians regardless of their religion, caste, class and gender, and abiding by the law.

What is the one thing that India must do to be great nation by 2025?

We must stay united to achieve greatness.

One freedom that Chandigarh tricity needs.

Freedom from garbage in public spaces

‘Invest in the youth’

Utkarsh Duggal, UPSC topper

What makes you proud of India?

Her syncretic ethos and ethos of ‘vasudev kutumbkam’. The values of sustainable development and tolerance towards others are engrained in our culture.

Where does India lag?

It hasn’t done enough for emancipation of the weaker sections of society, be it tribals or women.

Who is your icon of the freedom struggle?

Mahatma Gandhi

What does patriotism mean to you?

Following my fundamental duties, being an informed citizen, raising my voice against injustice and being respectful towards dissenting opinions and other people.

What is the one thing that India must do to be great nation by 2025?

India has to invest in its youth.

One freedom that tricity needs

Freedom from traffic snarls and congestion.

‘Shore up education’

Abhinn, Class X topper

What makes you proud of India?

India’s rich history, its intellectual supremacy since ancient times, its cultural and religious diversity, abundance of nature’s gifts, and its democracy.

Where does India lag?

We lag in health and education sectors.

Who is your Icon of the freedom struggle?

Mahatma Gandhi, who taught us that we can win over our worst enemies with the power of love and patience.

What does patriotism mean to you?

Anything which gives strength to my India and its people.

What is the one thing that India must do to be a great nation by 2025?

All round development in fields of education, defence , clean and renewable energy , health, agriculture and religious harmony.

One freedom that our tricity needs.

Freedom from unsafe roads.

‘Clean up your act’

Ankit Jaglan, 18, the best air wing cadet of India

What makes you proud of India?

Unity in diversity.

Where does India lag?

It lags in cleanliness, safety for women and clean governance.

Who is your icon of the freedom struggle?

Bhagat Singh and Manikarnika, the queen of Jhansi. They thought not only from the heart but from their mind too and sacrificed for the country.

What does patriotism mean to you?

Love for our country and for every person living here.

What is the one thing that India must do to be great nation by 2025?

We need to get rid of corruption, bad environment, and violence against women.

One freedom that Chandigarh tricity needs

Freedom from accidents and lawlessness.

‘Be patriotic, love every Indian’

Karanbir Randhawa, 23, joint secretary PU student council

What makes you proud of India?

Unity in diversity.

Where does India lag?

It lags in education, sports and development of its youth.

Who is your icon of the freedom struggle?

Bhagat Singh. I always try to compare what he did at a young age and what we are doing at the same age.

What does patriotism mean to you?

To love every citizen in the country.

What is the one thing that India must do to be great nation by 2025?

We should control the population. It’s leading to unemployment.

One freedom that tricity needs

Freedom from poor and expensive transportation.

‘Put India first’

Vani Sood, 22, Secretary, PU students council

What makes you proud of India?

Unity in diversity.

Where does India lag?

It lags in research and development.

Who is your icon of the freedom struggle?

Bhagat Singh. It was ‘nation first’ for him.

What does patriotism mean to you?

It means nation before anything/anyone else.

What is the one thing that India must do to be great nation by 2025?

I want India to be free from corruption.

One freedom that tricity needs

Freedom from eve-teasing and insensitivity towards women.

‘Freedom from materialism’

Mehak Arora, NEET topper from tricity

What makes you proud of India?

Its rich legacy and culture, communal harmony, and unity in diversity.

Where does India lag?

It lags in clean governance and equality between the rich and the poor.

Who is your icon of the freedom struggle?

Bhagat Singh, a man of action and principle.

What does patriotism mean to you?

It is devotion to what you do in your daily life that contributes towards making the country better at each step.

What is the one thing that India must do to be great nation by 2025?

Improve the education system and direct it more towards preparing the students for real life situations rather than book-centred learning.

A freedom that tricity needs.

Freedom from materialism and display of power and money.

‘Patriots work hard’

Dr Uttam Thakur, president, Association of Resident Doctors, PGIMER

What makes you proud of India?

Unity in diversity, the freedom it gives everyone to speak, write and protest against evil doings. We have the right to stand up and fight when we see human cruelty.

Where does India lag?

It lags in healthcare, a key attribute of national economic development. The basics of livelihood arte not available to everyone, caste system still prevails and we are way behind in sports.

Your icon of the freedom struggle.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

What does patriotism mean to you?

It means to perform our duty with full honesty and dignity. I believe our society equally needs doctors, engineers, sportsmen, businessmen, postman, teachers etc. to grow and flourish.

What is the one thing that India must do to be great nation by 2025?

Control population explosion.

One freedom that tricity needs.

Freedom from child beggars.

‘Provide safe roads’

Harsimran Kaur, helmet warrior

What makes you proud of India?

It is a land of gurus and freedom fighters

Where does India lag?

It is yet to implement traffic rules strictly.

Who is your icon of the freedom struggle?

Bhagat Singh, he was the youngest freedom fighter to sacrifice his life for India

What does patriotism mean to you?

It means serving my country by any means.

What is the one thing that India must do to be a great nation by 2025?

Provide safe roads for every citizen in India.

One freedom that our tricity needs

Freedom from stray cattle.

‘Free us from the VIP culture’

Karandeep Kochar, 19, professional golfer

What makes you proud of India?

The amount of talent that the country has in all the fields, be it sports or science.

Where does India lag?

We lack both infrastructure and finances to harness this talent.

Who is your icon of the freedom struggle?

Bhagat Singh

What does patriotism mean to you?

To do whatever one can to help the country in whatever aspect one can. I want to win for the country.

What is the one thing that India must do to be great nation by 2025?

Building more infrastructure and addressing the issue of unemployment.

One freedom that our tricity needs

Freedom from the VIP culture.

‘Remove inequalities’

Arjun Sharma, 29, IAS officer

What makes you proud of India?

The fact that despite such huge economic and geographical diversity, we have stood the turbulence of last 70 years of independence and have remained a flourishing democracy and a prosperous economy.

Where does India lag?

Many people still don’t have access to basic facilities of education and health. . We also lag in Research and Development and technological capabilities.

Who is your icon of the freedom struggle?

Mahatma Gandhi for the values of non-violence and truthfulness.

What does patriotism mean to you?

It means investment in education and health facilities so that these services reach the poorest of the poor in the country.

What is the one thing that India must do to be great nation by 2025?

We need to free ourselves of the economic poverty, financial inequalities and crime.

One freedom that our tricity needs.

Freedom from illiteracy.

(Compiled by Tanbir Dhaliwal, Aneesha Bedi, Saurabh Thakur, Rajanbir Singh, Hillary Victor and Ashutosh Sharma)

Source: Hindustan Times

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