Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Indian Independence Day!

On August 15, 1947, seventy-one years ago today, India became independent.  I arrived in India for the first time in August 1962, as it celebrated its 15th Independence Day.  That was a long time ago, when freedom was relatively new and most Indians could still remember when they were under the colonial yoke of England.

I’ve always been moved by Jawaharlal Nehru’s “Tryst with Destiny” speech on that first Independence Day.  He said:

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.

These days, when political rhetoric comes more from the gutter than from inspiring and uplifting dreams, it would serve us well to remember that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Jai Hind!


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