Friday, August 15, 2014

Nehru's speech, enjambed

Redeeming our Pledge
Jawaharlal Nehru

Long years ago 
we made a tryst with destiny.
Now comes the time
when we shall redeem our pledge, 
not wholly or in full measure, 
but very substantially. 

At the stroke of the midnight hour, 
as 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, 
when the soul of a nation, 
long suppressed, finds utterance.

At the dawn of history 
India started on her unending quest.

Trackless centuries 
are filled with her striving,
the grandeur of her success 
and her failures. 
Through good and ill 
she never lost sight 
of that quest, nor forgot
the ideals that gave her strength. 

Today, we end 
a period of ill fortune.
India discovers herself,

The appointed day has come.
The day appointed by destiny.
India stands forth again, 
after long slumber and struggle, 
awake, vital, free. 

The past clings on to us 
in some measure.
We have much to do 
before we redeem pledges 
so often taken. 
Yet the turning point is past, 
history begins anew, 
history, which we shall live and act,
history, others will write about.

The future beckons. 
Whither do we go?
What shall be our endeavor-
to bring freedom and opportunity 
to the common man, 
to the peasants and workers of India,
to fight and end poverty 
end ignorance, end disease,
to build up 
a prosperous, a democratic, a progressive nation, 
to create 
social, economic and political institutions,
to ensure justice and the fullness of life 
to every woman 
to every man.

And to India, 
much-loved motherland, 
ancient, eternal, ever-new, 
our reverent homage.
We bind ourselves
afresh, to her service. 

Excerpts from the speech made by India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the parliament to the constituent assembly, on August 14th 1947,'at the stroke of the midnight hour'. 

The transcript of the full speech can be read here.
And here, you can hear a sound recording of Nehru's 'Tryst with Destiny' speech in HIndi, recorded on All India Radio.