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We Are Free, Yet In Chains

Posted: March 13, 2020

We are all born free
Or so we think
I am made of flesh and bones
And so are you!

I feel, love, cry and laugh
I have hopes, dreams and aspirations for a better life
And so do you!

Then why was I told that you and I are different?
Not worthy of marriage to me and friendship with me?
You are Salman, I am Sahgal
You are Muslim, I am Hindu
Are we not the same? Made of flesh and blood, hopes and desires?

I look at her and she reminds me of myself
Brimming with optimism and hope, yet carefully cynical
I was born in the city and she in a village
I of a certain caste, she of another
Why are we different? Are we not the same?

You see, we think we are free but we are not
Because this freedom is an illusion
One that we have created
For we have created both the chains that bind us and the means to free ourselves

Unlearn, unlearn, unlearn
Unlearn this toxicity that clouds your judgement
That makes you look at someone else as a category and not a human
This poison that is socially constructed
Unlearn it please

Your race, gender, caste and class
Are both real and unreal
They define you, but they should not

After all, we have a lot more in common with each other, do we not?
Your courage, conviction, values and judgement
These are things I treasure in a person
And they cut across barriers, across nationalities, across genders and castes

You are a human and so am I
In you I see a bit of me and in me, I hope you see a bit of you
Our governments may say we are different, but I disagree
Our families may disapprove, but to them I say: “To Hell with it”

We are free, yet in chains
Let’s break these chains together
And show them what it truly means to be “free”

Image via Pixabay

Kanav Narayan Sahgal is a post-graduate student at Azim Premji University, Bangalore where he'

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