“Tryst with Destiny” byJawaharlal 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 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 grandeur of her
success and failures. Through good and ill fortune alike, she has
never lost sight of that quest, forgotten the ideals which gave her
We end today a period of misfortunes 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?
That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so
that we may fulfill 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
poverty and disease and inequality of opportunity.
The ambition of the greatest men 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 over.
And so we have to labour and to work, and to 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 any one of them to imagine that it can live apart.
Peace is said to be indivisible, so is freedom, so is prosperity now,
and 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 materializes. 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 people.
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
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 [or] ill
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
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.