Tryst with feedom

Towards midnight on August 15, 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India delivered a speech to the Indian Constituent Assembly in Parliament. This speech is a landmark oration and is considered one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century. It captures the essence of the triumphant culmination of the largely non-violent Indian independence struggle against the British Empire in India.

Excerpts from the Tryst with Destiny speech:

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity...

Freedom and power bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon this assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now...

THE FAMILY: Jawaharlal Nehru with his parents, wife and daughter.

THE FAMILY: Jawaharlal Nehru with his parents, wife and daughter.   | Photo Credit: MAIL PIC


Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster in this one world that can no longer be split into isolated fragments...

This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill will or blaming others. We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell...

It is a fateful moment for us in India, for all Asia and for the world. A new star rises, the star of freedom in the east, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materialises. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed!

We rejoice in that freedom, even though clouds surround us, and many of our people are sorrow-stricken and difficult problems encompass us...

We are citizens of a great country, on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action.

To the nations and peoples of the world we send greetings and pledge ourselves to cooperate with them in furthering peace, freedom and democracy.

And to India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to her service.

Jai Hind.

Tryst with feedom

Ready reference:

Jawaharlal Nehru

Born: November 14, 1889

Place of Birth: Allahabad

Parents: Motilal Nehru (father) and Swaruprani Thussu (mother)

Spouse: Kamala Nehru

Children: Indira Gandhi

Education: Harrow School, London; Trinity College, Cambridge; Inns of Court School of Law, London

Publications: The Discovery of India, Glimpses of World History, Toward Freedom, Letters from a Father to His Daughter

Passed Away: May 27, 1964

Memorial: Shantivan, New Delhi

Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of independent India. He was a member the Congress Party that led the freedom movement against the British rule. He was the chief framer of domestic and international policies during his term as PM between 1947 and 1964. It was under Nehru’s supervision that India launched its first Five-Year Plan in 1951. Nehru was one of the architects to steer the nascent nation towards the brilliance envisioned by countless revolutionaries of the Indian Freedom struggle.

Nehru began his political career in 1919, just after the Jallianwallah Bagh Massacre. He participated in the first civil disobedience campaign and was imprisoned. His time in jail helped him achieve a deeper understanding of the Gandhian philosophy and the nuances of the Non-Cooperation Movement. He was moved by Gandhiji’s approach of dealing with caste and “untouchability”.

In 1936, Nehru was re-elected as the president of the Indian National Congress. In the 1942 Quit India Movement, Nehru vehemently rallied for Purna Swaraj or complete political independence for India. He was arrested on August 8, the same year and was imprisoned till June 15, 1945. Nehru fought hard against the proposed partitioning of the country by the last Viceroy Lord Mountbatten.

Nehru’s stint as PM of India is characterised by his secular and liberalist approach. He carried out his vision, to take young India towards the road of technological and scientific excellence, with great zeal. He implemented a number of socio-economic reforms and paved the way for rapid industrialisation.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 3:59:48 PM |

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