A tryst with destiny

ネルー初代首相/インド独立宣言
インド, 1947年, ジャワハルラール·ネルー

A classic speech from a classic speaker.

It is late in the evening on August 14th 1947. At midnight, India will become a sovereign nation, independent from Britain. (sovereign = self-governing)

Jawaharlal Nehru, who is about to become India’s first prime minister, speaks to the Constituent Assembly in Delhi about India’s “tryst with destiny”. (tryst = meeting)

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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.

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Notes

1) The journalist Ian Jack has noted that Nehru used some ‘poetic licence’: “ ‘the world sleeps’ hardly applied to Britain, where it was early evening, or America, which was having lunch.”

2) Nehru’s mother tongue was Hindustani.

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