“This Independence Day, let us free ourselves from all shackles. Let’s unite and tap into the potential of collective strength to triumph over the current turbulent times and emerge stronger and better as people, professionals and society.”

We will be celebrating Independence Day on 15th of August that marks the end of 190-year-long British rule in India. In 1947, India was declared as a free country on this day. In 2020, India will complete 73 years as an independent nation.

Independence Day is one of those significant days in Indian history that reminds us of the bravery of our freedom fighters. With buildings illuminated and tricolour proudly adorned on top of buildings and caps. People pay homage to our leaders and great fighters who fought and gave up their lives for India’s freedom “Our Freedom”.

This year again we seek freedom but not from foreign rulers, but from an unknown enemy that has caught us all in waves of fear, uncertainty, anxiety, stereotypes and biases.

It’s time to pause and reflect with a heart full of gratitude and remember the strife, struggles and the sacrifice of the countless brave hearts. It is because of them, we continue today to live with hope and optimism of a better tomorrow and a brighter future.

Today stands as an opportunity for us to unite and fight with renewed spirits. To break away from Active Inertia of our past patterns that have held us back from triumphing over the current turbulent times. Our shackles have marked the lives of people, society and economy with fear and conflict.

“So even though we face difficulties of today and tomorrow, I have a dream…,” said Martin Luther King

Let us together take charge of our dream for a brighter tomorrow with freedom from…

1. Freedom from Fear

“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate, but it is fear.” –Mahatma Gandhi

It is natural to feel anxious and fearful when the journey ahead is unknown. We have long forgotten how to empower ourselves as well as people around us when hit by uncertainty. Presently we are gripped by the ‘virus of fear’ rather than the deadly virus itself, it has paralyzed the world. As we all brace and prepare ourselves for exiting the lockdown, the path towards healing and recovery journey will be more of a reflection, discovery and evolution. But this wouldn’t be possible without courage, clarity, patience and persistence.

2. Freedom from Bias (‘INCLUSION’ can make way for a united front)

Humanity is battling an invisible enemy that is COVID-19. We believe in order to combat the situation there is a need to recognize our inherent biases that can cripple our efforts. These are errors of judgement in thinking that affect our decisions and course of action. Some have advocated weeding out these biases that we succumb to unconsciously. Therefore, another aspect that needs to be considered is Inclusion. We have witnessed that the challenges presented by the pandemic need the united effort of the people towards the journey of healing and recovery as we move forward. As the impact of our decisions and course of action today will impact a collective than a selected few.

3. Freedom from Insecurity (Attitude & change behaviour to adapt and thrive)

The world has changed we have moved from VUCA to VUCA 2.0 today, yet the way we operate needs to evolve, there is a need to appreciate, communicate and have a strong network of individuals to end insecurity. Let’s not forget our attitudes and behaviour causes a ripple effect on people around us. It is important for us to take responsibility of ourselves and people around us as well.

4. Unshackle Yourself (Building a learning muscle is crucial to reinvent, adapt, progress and grow)

The ongoing pandemic is a global phenomenon which hasn’t left any aspect of life within its sphere untouched. Some view it as a challenge of a lifetime, while some look at it as an opportunity. It really depends on how one chooses to perceive and respond to the scenario – ‘you can either see the glass half empty or half full, or even better, look at it as space with scope to reorganise’. Innovation and reinvention can only be achieved with the attitude of learning, unlearning and relearning.

5. Building a Stronger and Resilient Society (A way to seek meaning and look at the bigger picture in times of crises)

Systemic action is a necessity for sustainable and resilient economic and social recovery. In order to achieve this, there is a need to invest in building not only the strong but also the vulnerable section of our society. Most important is nudging a long-term change in behaviours and attitudes of individuals by through empowerment, inspiration and modelling values that demonstrate resiliency and adaptability.

Let us not forget there are a few who have demonstrated the above. Some lost and some yet fighting, reminds us of the undying power of the human spirit, valour and courage.

The venerable leaders of newly Independent India charted a path that did not perceive independence only in terms of transfer of political power, but rather considered it a stepping stone in the long term and the larger process of nation-building. Their objective was to improve the quality of life of each individual and the wellbeing of society as a whole. Even today, this intention still holds its relevance.

As we celebrate our 73rd year as an independent nation, we are indeed at a crucial juncture. A juncture that heralds the era of the implementation of resilient efforts towards social and economic recovery with sustainable development; a plan which reflects the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of our people and which sets out the strategic objectives required to address some of the major emerging challenges of current times.

Perhaps the most important among these cross-cutting issues that will touch every citizen alike are – health care, education, and infrastructure, crimes against our humanity and unemployment or underemployment. Although we may share different political and religious beliefs and value systems, these areas touch the very core of who we are as a people and therefore, if our underlying goal is the progress of this nation, we will share a collective outlook.

May this year be a year of breakthrough for all us!