August 15 marks Independence Day, but this year the youth of India aren’t really free due to COVID-19 and other restrictions. NT KURIOCITY asked a few youngsters what freedom means to them

Freedom is a very subjective term and hence every person comes up with their own definition. The current situation is such that the people of the country are not very satisfied with their level of freedom. The reasons for this dissatisfaction could be many like – crime, corruption, gender inequality and various other things which help one person but suppress the rest of the nation. Freedom to the youth means being able to choose exactly what they want to do without thinking about the consequences. They have a life and they are free to choose how to lead it. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. While the whole nation is engaged in fighting pandemic. Independence is something about finding yourself and to think for yourself.

Sakshi Chandrasekhar Bhosale, Agnel Institute of Technology and Design, Assagao

It’s true that it’s COVID-19 and there are a lot of restrictions imposed, etc. But these are all for our benefit in the long run so that we do not contract the virus and end up breathless on a hospital bed. So I wouldn’t say that our freedom has been curtailed totally. We are free. Free to spend quality time with family, free to just binge watch on that long awaited web series, free to pray, free to get engrossed in a hobby, etc. Freedom is not merely the absence of restrictions imposed; it’s all in the mind. There’s no lockdown on your thinking and on your happiness.

Tancia Pires, intern, Goa Medical College, Bambolim

The definition of freedom has been altered a lot since the pandemic started. For me freedom means being myself. Expressing your opinions, being heard, the ability to understand and to be understood without any fear or judgement and having your own personal space, etc. The only the thing that’s been restricted is moving out freely, hanging out with friends with the early curfew or something as simple as enjoying your time in a café. That part of my freedom is not there anymore and it’s suffocating at times but as a citizen of India to protect myself and my family from COVID, these are the basic things that I need to follow in order to get the ‘freedom’ back.

Shivani Pednekar, Shri Rayeshwar Institute of Engineering Information Technology, Shiroda

Freedom means the youth should be allowed to take decisions that they consider safe and appropriate for them. Society shouldn’t be commenting and judging people for the way they behave. To choose what is right for them without curtailment. Every woman out there, should feel safe to wear the clothes she’s comfortable with, to feel safe to make male friends, and should not behave the way society wants her to. Freedom also means that men shouldn’t always be burdened with responsibilities, and women shouldn’t think twice before entering a religious place during menstruation. For me, freedom means living your life to the fullest without any restrictions.

Tejashri Mahale, Ganpat Parsekar College of Education, Arambol

The world has been hit by the pandemic which has halted almost everything in the last four months except for essential services. Although the lockdown has been lifted, people fear to leave the house. As far as the youth are concerned, trips, parties, picnics, watching movies and rides have stopped. Even if they are willing, due to the restrictions by parents they are unable to leave the house. But I don’t think these restrictions curtail the freedom in any way. It’s the need of hour to stay home for our own safety. The youth have alternate options to enjoy themselves in this digital world. They can connect with friends and enjoy virtually, watch movies and web series using various online platforms.

Shaunak Pai Kane, Mapusa

The term freedom or independence is defined differently by different people. For some it could be having the right to speak or being restriction free. For me freedom simply means to make my own choices. The freedom to choose the profession I love, to choose the way of lifestyle I would love to live. Currently we feel unsafe and restricted due to COVID-19, which raises the question – are we actually free? Though we aren’t free from the virus which has restricted our freedom to roam on streets or go out for a movie, we are free when it comes to our elementary freedom.

Prachita Joshi, Goa University