This was the cry of the oppressed peasants during the French revolution and is now the national motto of France.
Let me quote Wikipedia here on what these terms stand for.
“Liberty consists of being able to do anything that does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of every man or woman has no bounds other than those that guarantee other members of society the enjoyment of these same rights.”
Unfortunately in our side of the world, we tend to stand judgment on others, discuss and argue to death about certain issues that definitely belong within the purview of the natural rights of another person – like his/her sexual choices, food habits and when we are pushed to the wall, we use arguments like “culture”, “ethics” and “morals” to defend our right to dictate other peoples’ choices and condemn theirs – just because we find them inconvenient. In fact honor killing by parents or this sad and sordid case of a mother posting her daughter’s nude pic on the internet would not happen if us Asians truly respected our children and treated them as responsible adults with the right to choices and privacy.
Equality is another impossible ideal. To quote Wikipedia again : The law “must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in its eyes, shall be equally eligible to all high offices, public positions and employments, according to their ability, and without other distinction than that of their virtues and talents.”
But in our corner of the planet the law is a chattel or slave of the rich and powerful. The poor are at the mercy of police and influential despots. We have a Mayawati who tramples the rights of the dalits who voted her to power, we have a Kalmadi and a Raja who are sure that the law will look the other way and they wont get punished. We have parents who think their children are puppets – a school of thought beautifully portrayed by Rishi Kapoor in the movie Patiala House. The repression, the over bearing behavior put my teeth on edge.
Fraternity : “Any man aspires to liberty, to equality, but he can not achieve it without the assistance of other men, without fraternity”
Tell this to an Indian, who has been schooled well in our schools and colleges, where cut throat competiton started in pre nursery and has been the only constant factor in his/her otherwise diverse life, and that person will laugh at you. We look at our fellow man as a competitor, and are ready to snatch, grab and back stab. Not only that, we discriminate between the fair and the dark skins, the castes and the sexes.
I wonder at the future of my country – that I love dearly. More than that, I mourn at the state of the ideals stated above, ideals that I cherish more than any thing else in life.
I long for a revolution – that will grant us the ideals.
Hell, forget that, I long for the thrill of marching in a procession at Jantar Mantar yelling at the top of my voice
Liberté, égalité, fraternité