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Jawaharlal Nehru's 60th death anniversary: Taking a look at his historic speeches from ramparts of Red Fort

On the occasion of 60th death anniversary of the first prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru, taking a look at some of his historic speeches from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick07 New Delhi Updated on: May 27, 2024 13:52 IST
Jawaharlal Nehru's death anniversary, Jawaharlal Nehru's speeches from Red Fort
Image Source : WWW.THENEHRU.ORG First Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru

As India is observing the 60th death anniversary of first Prime Minister of the country, Jawaharlal Nehru, tributes were paid from every corner of the nation to the freedom fighter who went on to rule the country until his death on May 27, 1964. He assumed the office on August 15, 1947 and left behind a profound legacy for the governments to come. Let's take a look at some of his historic speeches from the ramparts of the Red Fort. 

  1. Tryst with Destiny towards midnight on 14 August 1947: Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny. Now the time has come 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, 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.
  2. Nehru's Independence Day Speech, 1947: All of you know what a tremendous influence India had in the past and it can have even greater influence today. Our nation can either stand or fall. If it stands it will stand higher than many other nations. This is the time for her to stand and aid other nations. In fact our freedom signalizes the freedom of other nations not only of Asia but of the whole world. Therefore, this is a day of rejoicing not only for us but for the whole world. You who are gathered here in lakhs must remember that the eyes of millions of people all over the world are turned towards you.
  3. Nehru's Independence Day Speech, 1948: India is a tremendous phenomenon with a history of thousands of years. But after all, what is India today apart from you and I and the millions of people who live in this country? If we are good and strong, India is strong and if we are weak, India is weak. If there is strength and courage and ability in us, then they become India's strength. If we are disunited and weak, then India is also weak. India is not a thing apart from us; we are little pieces of India. We are her children and at the same time you must remember that what we think and do today that shapes the India of tomorrow. There is a great responsibility on you and me and the inhabitants of India. We shout Jai Hind and Bharat Mata Ki Jai but Jai Hind is possible only if we follow the right path and serve the country rightly and do nothing which might affect its honour or make it weak.
  4. Nehru's Independence Day Speech, 1949: In another great and ancient country of Asia, there have been great upheavals and revolutionary changes. We feel that the p>eople of that country have the right to do as they choose. It is not our business to interfere in their freedom or internal affairs or economic arrangements. We want friendship with everyone. What the people choose is right for that country. There can be no coercion in freedom. So on this day, let us look at these problems and try to learn something. The Constituent Assembly is drawing up the Constitution for India. In a few months India will don a new garb of a republic and the new Constitution will come into force. That is proper. But ultimately a nation is built not by laws and constitutions but by the courage, strength and ability of the people. The constitution-makers will draw up a constitution. But real history is written by the deeds and minds of brave men. The question is how much courage we have to write the history of India with our blood, sweat, toil and tears. If we have the courage the Constitution will be effective. Otherwise if we are bogged down by petty quarrels and refuse to cooperate with one another, we will prove ourselves unworthy of freedom. The Constitution will not be worth the paper it is written on.
  5. Nehru's Independence Day Speech, 1950: Freedom of thought and of expression is an essential prerequisite of a free country. People should be free to form different parties and express their political views. Without this freedom a country cannot remain free. But, at the same time, you should beware of people who work against our freedom or do something by which that freedom is shaken or weakened. Freedom of thought and expression must prevail but always with the proviso that it does not weaken the country’s unity or independence. If that happens, it is a betrayal of the country. People often fail to make this distinction. Freedom does not give the right to anyone to do evil. Freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to abuse others in the street or print obscenities in newspapers. Such things will vitiate our entire life. Freedom particularly does not mean a right to strike at the roots of that freedom. If someone attempts such a thing, it is obvious that we have to prevent it. There are many people in the country today who have fomented trouble and incited people in the name of freedom and tried to weaken the nation. They have been dealt with, and since India is strong in spite of our weaknesses, we have succeeded and continue to progress. Some people have made a declaration that they would not participate in the Independence Day celebrations. Some others went a step further and said they would obstruct the proceedings. You can imagine the kind of mentality which prompts such thinking and emotions. This has nothing to do with freedom of expression or thought. It is an outright onslaught on India’s freedom and, no matter who they are or to which party they belong, we have to fight against them and root them out completely.
  6. Nehru's Independence Day Speech, 1951: That is why India has consistently followed a policy for world peace and particularly for peace with its neighbour, Pakistan. It has to be understood that partition has been brought about by mutual agreement and has to be accepted. Therefore, all talk of its annulment is wrong, and does no good to anybody. War drums are being beaten in Pakistan and there is a cry for jehad. India has naturally taken precautionary measures, for the defence of the country is our primary responsibility. At the same time we have made it clear that we want no war with anybody, much less with Pakistan.
  7. Nehru's Independence Day Speech, 1952: If you look at the world, you will find it in the grip of a psychosis. There is a constant talk of war everywhere, and nobody knows when things may get out of hand and the world razed to the ground. We are a weak nation. Yet we have raised our voice for peace. We have done so in the past, and we will continue to strive for peace in the world until our last breath. But that is possible only when we all progress together as a nation.
  8. Nehru's Independence Day Speech, 1953: I was talking about Kashmir. I want to repeat what I had said earlier, that we shall stick by the promise made five and a half years ago that the fate of Kashmir will be decided by the people of Kashmir. This is absolutely certain even today and there will be no interference or coercion on our part. The second thing is that a new Government was formed in Kashmir last week, but it is obvious that it can last only so long as they represent the people of Kashmir and are accepted by the elected Assembly. Otherwise another Government will have to be formed. Our principles apply equally all over India as well as in Kashmir. So these incidents occurred in Kashmir and I can understand that they may have caused you some surprise for you were not fully aware of the past history. But it has been blown out of all proportion and all sorts of rumours were spread which increased the panic among the people, and in other nations, especially our neighbour, Pakistan, where there was a strange hostility and anger. Views were expressed on this issue which have no relationship with reality. I am not here to criticize anyone but to express my sorrow that we should be so easily led astray and incited. This is not the way to solve major problems. I want to warn you that there are bound to be major issues and crises in India and the world and we shall be put to test. The question is whether we can think and act calmly and peacefully or rush around here and there in a blind panic. A nation is tested in this way and the more insurmountable the problems, the calmer we ought to be and act peacefully and wisely. When we have accepted the fundamental principle that the people of Kashmir will decide for themselves, there is no room for argument. We can certainly discuss the means by which this is to be done. But there can be no argument about principles. We have said this repeatedly ever since the Kashmir issue came up before us. We have also maintained that Kashmir has a special status. When it agreed to join India, we welcomed it. But even then, we have given it a special status owing to geographical and various other reasons. If people make a noise after all this and demand that Kashmir should have equal status with other States, they have obviously failed to understand the circumstances and the real situation. They can see that it has had just the opposite result.

 

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