Tryst with Destiny

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Jawaharlal Nehru's Tryst with Destiny speech

"Tryst with Destiny" was a speech delivered by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, to the Indian Constituent Assembly in The Parliament, on the eve of India's Independence, towards midnight on 15 August 1947. It focuses on the aspects that transcend India's 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 largely non-violent Indian independence struggle against the British Empire in India.

Speech[edit]

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny,and now that time comes when we shall redeem our pledge,not wholly or in full measure,but very substantially.At the stroke of todays 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 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 with some pride.

At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries which are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortunes alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortunes 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?

Freedom and power bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon this assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now.

That future is not one 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.

And so we have to labour and to work, and 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 people are too closely knit together today for anyone of them to imagine that it can live apart.


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.

. A new star rises, the star of freedom in the east, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materialises. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed by!


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 us.

We must not forget Netaji though we have often been unworthy followers of his and have strayed from his message,. We shall never allow that torch of freedom to be blown out, however high the wind or stormy the tempest.



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.

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. Jai Hind.[2]

Popular culture[edit]

  • The speech is referenced in the 1999 Hindi film Earth directed by Deepa Mehta. The film portrays the main characters listening to the speech on radio, against the backdrop of the Hindu-Muslim riots following the Partition of India. This provides an interesting juxtaposition between the realities of Partiton and the optimism that followed Independence.[3]
  • 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.[4]
  • 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.[5]
  • The book Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie has a reference to this speech [6] as does the Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh.[7]
  • 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."[8]
  • The musical group Kobo Town uses sound clips from this speech in their song Sing Out, Shout Out from their album Independence.[9]
  • The Popular rock band Parikrama uses the clip of the speech in their song, "One".[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Great speeches of the 20th century". The Guardian. 8 February 2008. 
  2. ^ "Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964): Speech On the Granting of Indian Independence, August 14, 1947". Fordham University. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  3. ^ K. Moti Gokulsing; Wimal Dissanayake (13 January 2009). Popular Culture in a Globalised India. Routledge. pp. 28–. ISBN 978-1-134-02307-3. 
  4. ^ Agrawal, Parul. "Citizen Journalism: In pursuit of Accountability in India" (PDF). Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford. p. 9. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ Salman Rushdie (7 September 2010). Midnight's Children. Random House. pp. 155–. ISBN 978-1-4090-2848-2. 
  7. ^ Khushwant Singh (February 2013). Train to Pakistan. Penguin Books India. pp. 185–. ISBN 978-0-14-341796-5. 
  8. ^ "Album Review: John O’Fleming – One.Hundred.Ten W.K.O". Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "Sing Out, Shout Out by Kobo Town - Lyrics". Retrieved 12 November 2014. 

External links[edit]