Tryst with Destiny

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Jawaharlal Nehru's speech "Tryst with Destiny"

"Tryst with Destiny" was an English-language speech delivered by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, to the Indian Constituent Assembly in the Parliament, on the eve of India's Independence, towards midnight on 14 August 1947. The speech spoke on the aspects that transcended Indian history. It is considered to be one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century[1] and to be a landmark oration that captures the essence of the triumphant culmination of the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule in India.


Nehru said:" Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now when 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...

Freedom and power bring responsibility. That responsibility rests upon this Assembly, a sovereign body representing sovereign people of India... That future is not of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we might 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 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 over...

To the people of India, whose representatives we are, we make the 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".

Popular culture[edit]

  • The speech is referenced in the 1998 Hindi film Earth directed by Deepa Mehta. The film portrays the main characters listening to the speech over the radio, against the backdrop of the Hindu-Muslim riots following the Partition of India. This provides an interesting juxtaposition between the realities of Partition and the optimism that followed Independence.[2]
  • Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, a Hindi film by Sudhir Mishra that portrayed the political and social turbulence of the late 1960s and the '70s in India contains a clip of the speech and the narrative voice speaks of the souring of Nehru's dream within two decades of Independence.[3]
  • In the 2000 film Hey Ram directed by Kamal Haasan, parts of the speech are heard in the background providing the audience a timeline of the happenings in the movie.[4]
  • The book Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie has a reference to this speech[5] as does the novel Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh.[6]
  • The speech is sampled by trance artist John 00 Fleming in the album One Hundred Ten WKO during the fifth track, "The Stroke of the Midnight Hour".[7]
  • The musical group Kobo Town uses sound clips from this speech in their song "Sing Out, Shout Out" from their album Independence.[8]
  • The Salman Khan film Bharat also used clips from the speech in their trailer.
  • The film Student of the Year mentioned the name of the speech as a clue in the treasure hunt game.
  • The Let's Crack It song owned by Unacademy made its intro using the actual speech voice clips.
  • 2012 Hindi film Gangs of Wasseypur used clips from this speech in one of the shots featuring the character Shahid Khan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Great speeches of the 20th century". The Guardian. 8 February 2008.
  2. ^ K. Moti Gokulsing; Wimal Dissanayake (13 January 2009). Popular Culture in a Globalised India. Routledge. pp. 28–. ISBN 978-1-134-02307-3.
  3. ^ Agrawal, Parul. "Citizen Journalism: In pursuit of Accountability India" (PDF). Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford. p. 9. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  4. ^ Bhaskar Sarkar (29 April 2009). Mourning the Nation: Indian Cinema in the Wake of Partition. Duke University Press. pp. 340–. ISBN 0-8223-9221-6.
  5. ^ Salman Rushdie (7 September 2010). Midnight's Children. Random House. pp. 155–. ISBN 978-1-4090-2848-2.
  6. ^ Khushwant Singh (February 2013). Train to Pakistan. Penguin Books India. pp. 185–. ISBN 978-0-14-341796-5.
  7. ^ "Album Review: John O'Fleming – One.Hundred.Ten W.K.O". Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Sing Out, Shout Out by Kobo Town - Lyrics". Retrieved 12 November 2014.

External links[edit]