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Chapter 2: Freedom Definition
Before we set out to answer these questions, let us stop for a moment and consider this. The autobiography of one of the greatest persons of the twentieth century, Nelson Mandela, is titled Long Walk to Freedom.
In this book, he talks about his personal struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa, the resistance of his people to the segregationist policies of the white regime, about the humiliations, hardships and police brutalities suffered by the black people of South Africa.
These ranged from being bundled into townships and being denied easy movement about the country, to being denied a free choice of whom to marry.
Collectively, such measures constituted a body of constraints imposed by the apartheid regime that discriminated between citizens based on their race.
For Mandela and his colleagues, it was the struggle against such unjust constraints, the struggle to remove the obstacles to the freedom of all the people of South Africa (not just the black or the coloured but also the white people), that was the Long Walk to Freedom.
For this freedom, Mandela spent twenty-eight years of his life in jail, often in solitary confinement.
Imagine what it meant to give up one’s youth for an ideal, to voluntarily give up the pleasure of talking with one’s friends, of playing one’s favourite game (Mandela loved boxing), wearing one’s favourite clothes, listening to one’s favourite music, of enjoying the many festivals that are part of one’s life.
Imagine giving all these up and choosing instead to be locked up alone in a room, not knowing when one would be released, only because one campaigned for the freedom of one’s people.
For freedom, Mandela paid a very high personal price.
Now, take another case. Gandhiji’s thoughts on non-violence have been a source of inspiration for Aung San Suu Kyi as she remained under house arrest in Myanmar, separated from her children, and unable to visit her husband when he was dying of cancer because she feared that if she left Myanmar to visit him in England she would not be able to return.
Aung San Suu Kyi saw her freedom as connected to the freedom of her people. Her book of essays bears the title Freedom from Fear.
She says, “for me real freedom is freedom from fear and unless you can live free from fear you cannot live a dignified human life”.
These are deep thoughts that lead us to pause and consider their implications.
We must not, her words suggest, be afraid of the opinions of other people, of the attitude of authority, or of the reactions of the members of our community to the things we want to do, of the ridicule of our peers, or of speaking our mind.
Yet we find that we often exhibit such fear. For Aung San Suu Kyi living a ‘dignified human life’ requires us to be able to overcome such fear.
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NCERT Solutions Class 11 Political Science Chapter 2 Freedom
What is meant by freedom? Is there a relationship between freedom for the individual and freedom for the nation?
Freedom refers to doing all those things which do not harm others and, are essential for a person’s own development. There is a close relationship between the freedom for individuals and for the nation because:
- If a nation is free, every individual of it, will be free to enhance their creativities and capabilities.
- The development of a nation depends on the cooperation, creativity and capabilities of individuals, which can be exercised in the absence of external constraints.
- A free society enables all its members to develop their potentials with the minimum of social constraints
- Though, no society can be imagined without the absence of constraints but it is necessary to determine whether it is acceptable or justified.
- Social constraints are necessary to be examined through debates, and discussions between individual and the society.
What is the difference between the negative and positive conception of liberty?
Negative conception of liberty:
- It implies the absence of restraints and rights to do whatever one likes.
- This conception may make the powerful person more powerful to keep the weaker ones on their mercy.
- This conception of liberty faces the following drawbacks:
(a) Liberty is concerned with the area control, not with its source, hence, this is not necessary to have democracy to enjoy freedom.
(b) The state should control the liberty of an individual only up to the limit where he interferes in other’s such liberty. Positive conception of liberty:
- It refers to the society in which adequate facilities are available for each and every section of society to enjoy desirable rights.
- This believes that any individual or section should not hinder the progress of others.
- People can enjoy all freedoms which are permissible by laws.
- It ensures the growth of poor, weak and downtrodden people also.
- It interprets that liberty lies in the removal of hindrances.
What is meant by social constraints? Are constraints of any kind necessary for enjoying freedom?
Social constraints refer to the restrictions imposed by the society whosoever is unauthorized for the same.
Necessity of constraints:
- There are various sections who demand a ban on films, books, articles, journals, etc.
- Though banning is an easy solution for the short term to meet the demand immediately, but it is very harmful for long term prospects due to development of this habit only.
- If we willingly accept restrictions to pursue our goals or ambitions our freedom is not limited. In any case if we are not coerced into accepting the conditions we cannot claim to be curtailed freedom.
NCERT Class 11 Political Science Textbook Chapter 2 Freedom With Answer PDF Free Download