Against the backdrop of recent attacks on Dalits, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today said freedom can never be for a few and asked Indians to aspire for a country where ideas are not "crushed violently" by the forces of hate and mediocrity.
He said that the Indians are honour bound to aspire to a country where nobody lives in fear and where ideas flow freely and are not crushed violently by the forces of hate and mediocrity.
"We Indians are honour bound to aspire to a country where nobody lives in fear - not one man or woman - and where ideas flow and are not crushed violently by the forces of hate and mediocrity. We must fight for this truth, at all times," Gandhi said in his Independence Day message.
Asserting that India has achieved much to be proud of, Gandhi said there still remains works to be done.
"Our freedom was hard won. It came from the sacrifice, courage and perseverance of inspirational women and men. That generation is no longer with us but the Constitution of India is their precious gift to our nation. It embodies the values, principles and ideals for which they fought, values they hoped would guide our brave young country. Now it is up to us," he added.
The Congress vice president said as India celebrates Independence it is not just freedom from the British rule, but the commitment to freedom from inequality and prejudice and freedom to choose our own destiny and create a society where everyone has equal opportunities for success.
"These are freedoms we must not take for granted. Freedoms that we Indians, particularly young, are duty-bound to defend. Our precious liberty is a living, breathing force -not a static idea and as such it must continuously be maintained and lovingly defended by all of us Indians," he added.
Against the backdrop of the recent Kashmir unrest, Gandhi said, "When the forces of darkness threaten this liberty for some of us, we must remember that freedom can never be for the few - it has to be for everyone."
He said every human being in India has the right to dignity and the freedom to live and express themselves freely.
Gandhi hoisted the national flag at the party headquarters earlier today for the first time since he took over as the Congress vice-president three years ago.
-With inputs from agencies