Lisa Larsen, Jawaharlal Nehru, 1955
August 15 is India’s Independence Day, celebrating the anniversary of the end of British rule and India’s subsequent sovereignty. At midnight on August 14-15, 1947, the first Prime Minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, made his now-famous “tryst with destiny” speech. Nehru’s eloquent address to the people of India and to the world encapsulated both the emotions of a 100 year struggle for independence and ambitious hopes for the future:
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.