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Sun 14 Jul 2013 12:33 PM

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Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru

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

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.

At the dawn of history India started
on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and
the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortune
alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave
her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself

The achievement we celebrate today
is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and
achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this
opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?

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.

That future is not one of ease or
resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so
often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the
service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and
ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity.

The ambition of the greatest man of
our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond
us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be

And so we have to labour and to
work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India,
but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too
closely knit together today for anyone of them to imagine that it can live

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.

To the people of India, whose
representatives we are, we make an appeal to join us with faith and confidence
in this great adventure. 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.

The appointed day has come - the day
appointed by destiny - and India stands forth again, after long slumber and
struggle, awake, vital, free and independent. The past clings on to us still in
some measure and we have to do much before we redeem the pledges we have so
often taken. Yet the turning point is past, and history begins anew for us, the
history which we shall live and act and others will write about.

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. But freedom brings responsibilities and
burdens and we have to face them in the spirit of a free and disciplined

On this day our first thoughts go to
the architect of this freedom, the father of our nation, who, embodying the old
spirit of India, held aloft the torch of freedom and lighted up the darkness
that surrounded us.

We have often been unworthy
followers of his and have strayed from his message, but not only we but
succeeding generations will remember this message and bear the imprint in their
hearts of this great son of India, magnificent in his faith and strength and
courage and humility. We shall never allow that torch of freedom to be blown
out, however high the wind or stormy the tempest.

Our next thoughts must be of the
unknown volunteers and soldiers of freedom who, without praise or reward, have
served India even unto death.

We think also of our brothers and
sisters who have been cut off from us by political boundaries and who unhappily
cannot share at present in the freedom that has come. They are of us and will
remain of us whatever may happen, and we shall be sharers in their good and ill
fortune alike.

The future beckons to us. Whither do
we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and opportunity to the
common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and
ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive
nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will
ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.

We have hard work ahead. There is no
resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all
the people of India what destiny intended them to be.

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 [Victory to

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