Quotes on What It Means to be Liberal

Liberals stand for individual freedoms and argue against Big Governments. Yet, today, are individual freedoms such as the right to eat, worship, dress, love, marry, set up businesses, free speech, have opinions, read and write what you want in serious danger? Is the dominance of a Big Government or Big State stamping out individual freedom in an unprecedented manner?

In her book, Why I Am A Liberal, Sagarika Ghose argues why it is so important to renew the meaning of Indian liberalism with new energy.

From it, we extract quotes on what it means to be liberal.

“Our founding patriotism—the patriotism of Rammohan Roy, Tagore, Gandhi, Nehru, Ambedkar and Gokhale—in its commitment to pluralism and inclusiveness has been overwhelmingly liberal. It defined patriotism as a call of duty to serve the nation through talent, education and moral courage, not patriotism as a weapon of destruction.”


“The easy acceptance of diversity is the best illustration of the liberal spirit of Hinduism. On a whimsical note, Hindus were liberals long before the idea of liberalism emerged as a civil and political ideal in the world!”


“The liberal view is the state exists to safeguard the individual. The individual is not a soldier of state power. The rights of the individual therefore become the supreme consideration because liberty is the supreme good.”


“Liberal democracy is about participating and sharing in power. It’s about constant citizen vigilance. Liberal democracy depends crucially on aware, brave and free-thinking citizens who speak up for their rights, for justice, for decency, for individual freedom and for non-violence.”


“Gandhi believed that the liberation of women was necessary for the liberation of men, to escape from stereotypical notions of the dominant male, or what is today called ‘toxic masculinity’. Wrote Gandhi: ‘By seeking to interfere with the free growth of womanhood in India, we are interfering with the growth of free and independent spirited men.’”

Why I Am a Liberal is Sagarika Ghose’s impassioned meditation on why India needs to be liberal.

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