Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence day to all my readers. India celebrates 60 years of Independence today. Having enjoyed 30 years of that myself, all I can say is, I am very grateful.

We all read and heard about the famous speech Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru made on midnight, August 1947. The full speech is a revelation, it is not the fist-pumping, we-did-it, the-battle-is-over speech. It recognizes the work ahead, that the battle has not been won, it has just started. We won our freedom, now we need to keep it. It is hope and it is joy. I love reading this speech especially the first two paragraphs which I reproduce here.

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.

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 again. 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? [link]

Click on the link to read the full text. Wiki has the full text of the speech , too. From wiki, I found this link which recounts the writings of an American woman who actually witnessed the Indian Flag go up on 15th August, 1947.

“the multitudes had gathered as far as the eye could see in the two-mile long parkway approach to the Secretariat, on tops of buildings, in windows, on cornices, in trees, perched everywhere like so many birds. The raising of that first flag was the single most thrilling experience of the entire celebration …. The first who spotted it pointed like eager childen; others … looked up and tried to push their way to a vantage point so they too could see this miracle. For a few minutes there was almost a subdued hush over the whole crowd; then a soft bass undertone slowly swelled until, perhaps when the flag reached the top,… there was a breathtaking roar of cheering, shouting, and excited cries which others said penetrated to the hall inside and made their spines tingle. While I was being stirred by the sheer power and grandeur of the spectacle,… the Indians either stood mute, immersed in their own overwhelming thoughts, or were shouting almost uncontrollably. It was a grand emotional experience that left most of us with shaky voices or complete inability to speak.”

Read the full article here.

Happy Independence Day to all my readers!