Among the trinity of liberty, equality, and fraternity, liberty is very abstract and the most concrete is equality as one can actually measure it if the society is equal or unequal.
It is also easy, on the contrary, to move masses in the name of liberty as it is so abstract and people can have many ideas, even contradictory, about it, but equality is concrete and it is the “measure of man” if he treats the other man with respect and reverence and that is why equality finds fewer supporters when it comes to choosing between the liberty and equality.
This is what happened in so called Indian freedom movement struggle, the media, and the dominant political party aroused the mass opinion for liberty, for freedom, but the same mass movement for equality is difficult to achieve and it is much more arduous to arouse the mass of people into action to establish equality. The task of establishing equality is daunting and challenging.
There are many paradoxes of freedom and in the hierarchy of the freedoms which is the most important to another type of freedoms is difficult to establish. For example, whether the right of using the cell phone while driving is important than the right of human beings to walk on the road safely, getting hit by the distracted driver.
And one can create rankings of freedoms, but the most important freedom is the freedom to be and to be at par with others and that is why equality underpins the liberty so concretely. Without equality, human freedom is impossible and that is why freedom is linked with the abstract land, useless religions, but not with the freedom to be equal and freedom to be what one can be.
Much before Isaiah Berlin talked about positive liberty and negative liberty, Babasaheb Ambedkar talked about internal freedom and external freedom in terms of external revolution and internal revolution.
Internal revolution precedes the external revolution. When the humans have the idea and experience of what it is to be internally free and they know how to experience and express it, it began to have its impact on external freedom and they strive to create external freedom for others and themselves.
Sometimes freedom is linked with excessive even obsessive individualism and this individualism can become anti social and therefore fraternity is the most cohesive and organizing principle for the society. In the principle of fraternity, the value of freedom is entrenched. Indian nation state is far from the value of fraternity as it is a fractured society based on caste and communal lines and increasingly other factors are becoming fissiparous which is a sure and sound condition for unstable nation.
The nation must be built on by practicing the values on which the nation is built up and these values are not political slogans, but they should become the way of life for the common citizens. They should become more important than the religious values if the religious values contradict the values of liberty, equality, and fraternity, the religion must be destroyed for people to experience the real freedom.
Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist