Tryst with Destiny 14-15 August, 1947-Jawaharlal Nehru
With the clock striking the midnight hour on 14-15th August, 1947, India was ‘toawake 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 wasa historic and memorable occasion in the life of the Constituent Assembly.After an address by the President, Jawaharlal Nehru made his now famous Tryst withDestiny speech.
He called upon the members to take a solemn pledge to serve Indiaand her people.Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeemour pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnighthour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, whichcomes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, andwhen the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemnmoment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the stilllarger cause of humanity.At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled withher striving and the grandeur of her successes, and her failures. Through good and ill fortunealike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. Weend today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again. The achievement we celebratetoday is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements thatawait us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept thechallenge of the future ?Freedom and power bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon this Assembly, a sovereignbody representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom, we have enduredall the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of thosepains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to usnow. That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we might fulfil thepledges we have so often taken and the One we shall take today. The service of lndia means theservice of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease andinequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipeevery tear from every eye. That may be beyond us but as long as there are tears andsuffering, 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. Thosedreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are tooclosely knit together today for anyone of them to imagine that it can live apart.Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disasterin this one world that can no longer be split into isolated fragments. To the people of India,whose representatives we are, we appeal to join us’ with faith and confidence in this greatadventure. This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill-will or blamingothers. We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell.I beg to move, sir, that it be resolved that:After the last stroke of midnight, all members of the Constituent Assembly present on thisoccasion, do take the following pledge:
(1)At this solemn moment, when the people of India, through suffering and sacrifice, havesecured freedom, I a member of the Constituent Assembly of India, do dedicate myself in allhumility to the service of India and her people to the end that this ancient land attain her rightfulplace in the world and make her full and willing contribution to the promotion of world peace andthe welfare of mankind.
(2)Members who are not present on this occasion do take the pledge (with such verbal changesas the president may prescribe) at the time they next attend a session of the Assembly.Reference:Constituent Assembly Debates