By Madhavi Kulkarni

Edited by Namrata Caleb

Human rights origin from ancient history pages about more than a thousand years ago.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was made by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 with a motto of maintaining Peace, harmony and freedom in the world. As declared by the Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948: “Whereas Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.

Some of the human rights that one must be cognized of are: right to equality, freedom from discrimination, freedom from slavery, right to equality before law, right to own property, freedom of belief and religion, freedom of opinion and information, right to social security, right to education, right to participate in the cultural life of community, right to adequate living standard etc.

When I was in ninth grade I had a chapter in social studies on Fundamental rights of our constitution. I can still recall the efforts I had taken to memorize them because my teacher had said it was important according to the exam point of view. And as I passed out from school this chapter on rights also passed away gradually from mind. Little did I know the importance of it then. It’s the same case with most of us, Right?

Talking about rights the question may arise as to why should I know them? I do not have to give my ninth grade examination again so why take efforts to be acquainted with them?  Well ,Along with the basic necessities like food clothing shelter, everything else which is required for the survival like to speak one’s heart out, to be secured, to feel free, to have a  life of dignity, to get education, to have a good standard of living is also obligatory. After all we humans are social animals. These rights are theme of our living. We are all entitled to our rights equally as stated in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. Unlike the constitutional rights which are applicable to particular masses of a country only, the human rights are universally applicable and accepted regardless of age, gender, community, educational background, status, citizenship etc. And yeah the qualification is simple, “being human”!

A few months ago there was a construction work going on beside my house. One evening I was passing by that construction site, I witnessed that the labors were paid less than they were supposed to receive. When one among them asked for his fair wages he was threatened to remove from his job and so he had to take how much was given to him. I wonder this would not have happened if he and the rest of the labors were aware of their right of freedom from slavery, which states that no person should be force to work without fair pay and conditions.

India today is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It has witnessed growth in most of the sectors. But we yet find bias between religions. The people who quarrel on matter of religions do they know the right of freedom of belief and religion?  If there is a right to equality then why still the gap between rich and poor exist? Why still in some families male is considered superior than to women?  Are these women aware of their right against discrimination? Why we are still asked to fill a column of cast or religion in most of the documents?  Is it really that important?  If yes, then what happened to the right to equality before law?  Most of the children are still kept away from school. They work as child laborers, what if they knew about their right to education?  Have we ever thought about these things?  Well, if not yet then it’s time we do.

These are our rights and each one of us has the right to know them. And it’s a responsibility as well being a human, not only just to know them but also to spread this awareness among other people. So next time when you see your friends, colleagues or family members don’t forget to ask them a question: ’are you aware of your rights?’ and if they aren’t, then let them too be familiar with their rights as a human being.

Madhavi Kulkarni believes in living a simple life with dignity.  Music and words to her are like the rhythm of her soul which she says have always helped her to give a life to her thoughts. She spares most of her time either reading books or listening music or sometimes writing poetry. According to her as long as one has faith and hope there is nothing like impossible. Faith can do miracles. She is a happy go lucky and likes to learn new things and do adventurous stuffs.Madhavi is currently pursuing B.Com second year in Karnataka.

Posted by The Indian Economist | For the Curious Mind