Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Tryst with Destiny

Yesterday, India celebrated the 59th anniversary of her Independence from over 200 years of British Rule.

And by chance, I happened upon the speech given by Jawaharlal Nehru - India's first Prime Minister - on that happy and momentous occasion. I hadn't read this speech since my high schools days when once in a moment of insanity I tried to memorize it for an elocution contest. Five hours into the task I came to my senses and switched pieces! Still, it’s a beautiful speech. Well written and most importantly - not too long. How unlike a politician to curtail his need for verbal spewage!

In his "Tryst with Destiny" speech, Nehru spoke of India being poised on the threshold of a new era finally shutting the doors on a painful chapter of her history. Although optimistic about her future, Nehru was not blind to the pressing needs of the nation - poverty and illiteracy were rampant and many of India's sons and daughters were still in state of shock over the division of her political boundaries cutting off brother from brother; mother from child.

59 years later, many of India's sons and daughters still live in abject poverty; education is but a distant dream for many; politicians and their policies - many corrupt - have played havoc with the country's bid for progress and more recently calamities both natural and man made have shook India's foundations to the core.

Still, I see a bright future for the country of my birth. The country that for 20 years I called home. Although at first glance not much seems to have changed over the past six decades, in reality India has progressed in leaps and bounds making headways in areas of industry and infrastructure; finance to fashion!

So, I wish thee India - Happy Independence Day. You the land of the ancient, the now and the ever enduring.


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