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August 15th is a day to celebrate our freedom and build our resolve for progress, peace, justice and equality. It is a day to celebrate our Azaadi.
It is also an occasion to reflect on the journey our country has taken in the past and look to the path ahead. It is an occasion to cast out fear, servitude and oppression, to celebrate what we as a people have achieved and to prepare ourselves for the challenges ahead.
We celebrate today the idea of India that embodied our freedom struggle and drew people from across the country into its fold. Fuelled by the great quest for equality, justice and freedom, the idea of India drew strength from the diversity of all the people of India and found a place for their aspirations.
The rural poor and tribals looking for access to land, water and forests, urban workers looking for dignified life and livelihood, Dalits and other oppressed castes and tribes looking for dignity and equality, women who dreamt of an equal India — all participated in India’s struggle for freedom, which drew into its ranks freedom fighters pursuing all religious faiths and atheists, and together we rejected the notion of a theocratic state – where the state rules in the name of a God rather than in the name of all the people.
Let us celebrate our Independence by reiterating the ideals of the freedom struggle and reaffirming not only our solidarity, but also our renewed commitment to seek freedom from oppression, and freedom for all to live with dignity.
At ActionAid India we see our work as continuing to work on the unfinished agenda of the freedom struggle to ensure that everybody has equality of opportunity and freedom.