Independence Day Of India Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we will 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.
… We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again. “The midnight of August 15, 1947 is memorable for every Indian on earth, as it is the time, when India gained independence from the stranglehold of the mighty British. The otherwise suppressed tri-colored flag of India was given its due respect, when it was hoisted in the midnight on the Independence Day. Since then, the red-letter day is celebrated with pomp and gaiety, across the length and breadth of India.
Cultural programs and flag-hoisting ceremonies are the predominant affair of the day, while colorful kites fill the sky in the evening, to symbolize freedom.People indulge themselves in remembering the heroes of the freedom struggle and pay homage to them. In the early hours of the 15th of August, 1947, when our nation had just become Independent, our first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru spoke to the nation and asked us all one important question on the very first day we became a free country: “Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future? ” Today, my fellow citizens, I stand here once again and ask you that same question.Are we ready to face the challenge of the future? Are we brave enough, to do so, and wise enough, in doing so? Can we rediscover the ideas and ideals that shaped our freedom struggle, and use them to take our country forward into the future? Are we willing to show the courage and the wisdom that Panditji wanted us to show in building a new India in a new world? It is almost sixty years since Independence. It is but a brief period in the history of an ancient civilization.But, it is a long time in the life of a young nation. In these sixty years, the world has been transformed beyond recognition.
The empires of Europe have faded away. New powers have emerged in Asia. Look at where Japan was and where it is today. Look at where China was and where it is today. Look at where the countries of South-east Asia were and where are they today? When we see them, we wonder whether we are living up to our full potential or not. India is certainly on the march.Yet, we have miles to go before we can truly say that we have made our tryst with destiny.
Sixty years ago, Panditji told us that the two challenges before a free India was to end the ancient scourge of poverty, ignorance and disease and end the inequality of opportunity. India has marched a great distance forward in these sixty years, but the challenge of banishing poverty remains with us. We have yet to banish hunger from our land. We have yet to eradicate illiteracy. We have yet to ensure that every Indian enjoys good health.The challenge for us as a nation is to address this duality – to ensure that while we keep the wheels of progress moving rapidly forward, no section of society and no part of the country is left behind; to ensure that growth generates the necessary wealth which can then finance the welfare of marginalized groups; to ensure that growth generates employment and a bright future for our youth. Today, from this Auditorium, I appeal to every one of you to re-dedicate yourself to build a new India.
– An India that is united in thought, not divided by religion and language. An India that is united in our Indianness, not divided by caste and region. – An India that is united in seeking new opportunities for growth, not divided by disparities. – An India that is caring and inclusive. Our religions may be different. Our castes may be different. Our languages may be different.
But we are all Indians. In our progress lies the progress of the nation. Our fortunes and our nation’s fortunes are intertwined. And working together, we can make this fortune a glorious one. If we have to fulfil our potential, we need a politics that will help us realize it. We need a politics that will propel us forward.We need a politics that will guide us to new frontiers, take us to new horizons.
I urge all our political leaders to think deeply about the future of our country. We must shun the politics of divisiveness and adopt the politics of change and progress. Our political parties and leaders must learn to work together. To build a consensus around national issues. If we are able to do so, then I am confident that then we will soon be able to realize the golden future which millions of our countrymen are eagerly waiting for. Let us all join together, hand in hand, to build a new India. Jai Hind!