Since I came to Vancouver, I got to interact with a lot of students from parts of the world where freedom has a different meaning. I realised we Indians don’t appreciate enough how we have been raised. Neither do we realise how things are in other parts of the world. Let me elaborate some more.
The right to free speech has been so ingrained in our daily lives through the intensely active Indian media (although their activity is not always in the right direction) that we don’t even notice it. When it comes to expressing our opinions, we are always at the front. Politicians actually need to worry about how to keep their dirt behind closed doors. I believe all of this freedom to think and express has helped us evolve the idea of right and wrong in two distinct ways,
- permitted under the law.
- acceptable as a society.
We also realise that they need not overlap. Although that is not ideal, we try to reach a resolution through debates in either the media, a court of law or the parliament. This has a big implication for us as a society, it is never acceptable for an entity to circumvent the law even when justified by an argument such as, for the greater good. When individuals grow up in an atmosphere with restricted freedom, one doesn’t appreciate this subtlety and often justify breaking the law arguing its for the greater good and whatever collateral damage that comes with it is acceptable. In their mind their personal limits of acceptability is the only constraint on choice.