Essay No. 143:
Man Is Born Free But Everywhere He Is In Chains: It is a quotation by Rosseau, which holds a great truth in human life. A child born in a rich or a poor family comes into the world with complete freedom. When he grows up, he is chained in different fetters.
As a child, he dreams of getting the moon, but he cannot. On gaining consciousness, he realized that his dream cannot come true. That is a set back to the freedom of a child. Then he is unwilling to go to school but by force is sent to school for getting an education. That too is a fetter on his freedom!
As a grown-up human being, man desires to have many things in life. But life turns him to a great tragedian when he finds himself living in a fool’s paradise, where he can dream and aspire but nor realize his aspirations because of the paucity of resources. The resources he has at its disposal are far too inadequate to realize his all dreams at a time.
He is compelled to choose between different competing ends, and that is a blow to his freedom to achieve all that he aspires for. A beggar can desire to own a big bungalow but he can’t have it because he does not possess economic means to translate his wish to reality.
An industrialist can desire to have a vast industrial empire, but he cannot make his desire effective due to the scarcity of economic resources. When he cannot do so, he gets a setback and realizes the fact that he can talk about freedom but not have it in the real sense.
People in the Third World countries are prisoners of poverty. They want freedom from hunger, squalor, privation but they are bound so tightly in the grip of poverty that they cannot break the bound so tightly in the grip of poverty that they cannot break the shackles. They wish to breathe in an air of freedom but they cannot.
Certain developing countries including Pakistan, in their desire to achieve high growth rate to dent poverty, are compelled to get foreign aid to supplement their meagre resources to achieve the object, get involved in the vicious debt trap in the long run. In a bid to attain self-reliance, they are caught in chains of foreign slavery.
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Wish for getting freedom further hurls them down to slavery. That shows a man is chained from all sides by strong fetters of slavery. Rosseau regards life in society false and unreal as it imposes on man various kinds of restrictions which aim to reduce man’s freedom. He wants man to be in the company of nature.
Nature alone could guarantee the freedom to him while society stands for limiting his freedom. But it is in man’s own interest that certain laws may be framed to regulate his life to live peacefully in society. Laws are made to create social harmony in society. If there are no traffic laws, there would be total disharmony, leading to numerous accidents.
Freedom here does not mean to drive your vehicle in any direction without observing the traffic laws. Freedom thus has to be kept under certain limits otherwise life would become difficult to live.
The man by nature wants freedom, but it tends to be constricted under the dictatorial regime. Dictators do not like people to enjoy freedom, which can go against their interests. Many curbs are placed on the freedom of mass media to provide correct accurate information to the people. People’s freedom is considered to be the worst form of governance.
A democratic regime is a hundred times better than a dictatorial one. Democracy guards and protects different forms of freedom permissible under it. One should opt for democracy, as even lame, maimed type of democracy is preferable to dictatorship.