14-15 August, 1947
With the clock striking the midnight hour on 14-15th August, 1947, India was 'to awake to freedom'. The Constituent Assembly to whom power was to be transferred began its sitting at 11 pm with Smt Sucheta Kripalani singing Vande Mataram. It was a historic and memorable occasion in the life of the Constituent Assembly. After an address by the President, Jawaharlal Nehru made his now famous Tryst with Destiny speech. He called upon the members to take a solemn pledge to serve India and her people.
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.
At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her successes, and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune 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...