Independence Day 2017: Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘Tryst with Destiny’ Speech

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Courtesy: Express Web Desk | Updated: August 14, 2017 4:09 pm

Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech delivered this day 70 years ago to the Indian Constituent Assembly in Parliament, just before midnight on August 15, 1947. As India celebrates its 71st Independence Day, it is easy to forget that today is also the 70th anniversary of the most important speech in Indian history.

Here is the full text:

“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 success 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 the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now.

That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, 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. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for any one 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 disaster in this One World that can no longer be split into isolated fragments.

The appointed day has come—the day appointed by destiny—and India stands forth again, after long slumber and struggle, awake, vital, free and independent. The past clings on to us still in some measure and we have to do much before we redeem the pledges we have so often taken. Yet the turning-point is past, and history begins anew for us, the history which we shall live and act and others will write about.

It is a fateful moment for us in India, for all Asia and for the world. A new star rises, the star of freedom in the East, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materializes. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed!

We rejoice in that freedom, even though clouds surround us, and many of our people are sorrow-stricken and difficult problems encompass us. But freedom brings responsibilities and burdens and we have to face them in the spirit of a free and disciplined people.

On this day our first thoughts go to the architect of this freedom, the Father of our Nation, who, embodying the old spirit of India, held aloft the torch of freedom and lighted up the darkness that surrounded us. We have often been unworthy followers of his and have strayed from his message, but not only we but succeeding generations will remember this message and bear the imprint in their hearts of this great son of India, magnificent in his faith and strength and courage and humility. We shall never allow that torch of freedom to be blown out, however high the wind or stormy the tempest.

We think also of our brothers and sisters who have been cut off from us by political boundaries and who unhappily cannot share at present in the freedom that has come. They are of us and will remain of us whatever may happen, and we shall be sharers in their good [or] ill fortune alike.

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

We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be. We are citizens of a great country on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action.

To the nations and peoples of the world we send greetings and pledge ourselves to cooperate with them in furthering peace, freedom and democracy.

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

JAI HIND.”

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Nagpur – Center of Learning

Education widely accepted as important for attainment of developmental goals is really the fundamental right of all children whether they are in the city, suburbs or jungles. Nagpur city located in the geographical center of India continues to be a major education hub. College of Agriculture is the oldest college in the country that was founded in 1906 by the then ruling British Government. The historic and heritage Victoria Building in Maharaj Bagh houses this College that was built in 1856 for the stay of Queen Victoria of England at Nagpur!

Nagpur University, now known as Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University was founded in 1923 and is one of the oldest in India. Nagpur with both municipal schools and private schools has emerged as a hub for education in Central India. Nagpur Municipal Corporation runs over 500 schools all over the city. There are numerous private schools run by trusts or individuals. Vidya Shikshan Prasaran Mandal (VSPM) is an affiliate partner of HERD Foundation and it is registered educational body under the Societies Registration Act 1860.

VSPM as it is better known was set up as a trust in the year 1971. The vision was to create learning centers that will allow education for all and at the same time work to eradicate social disparities causing unrest in society. 51 separate educational institutes operate under VSPM that includes a Medical College, Dental College, Physiotherapy College, Nursing Institutes, Hospitals, Degree Colleges with Arts, Commerce, Science, Business Management, Education and the schools in both urban and rural areas.

The school system follows a 10+2+3/4 plan and students have the option to enroll in junior college after 10 years of schooling and then undertake degree courses for three or four years depending on their choice of field. Nagpur can verily be said to be the nucleus for education having countless schools, colleges and higher learning centers. In hindsight it appears that astute political will has seen the emergence of educational centers across the length and breadth of the city.

There is little doubt that Nagpur will continue to grow as a bigger educational hub. Not only in the State but across the country it will have its unparalleled presence drawing countless students from all over the land and outside. Even now students from surrounding districts and states arrive in city with the aim to pursue their education. It is also evident that all these institutions attract companies to Nagpur and create jobs in various disciplines.

And… Education For All

Rural Education In India

Rural Education In India

The earliest recorded centers of higher learning in India, around 5th century BCE, were the famed Nalanda and Takshasila Universities. Education was also passed on in secular institutions like Hindu temples, mutths and Buddhist monasteries. Students of yore were tutored along practical lines that included different subjects like medicine, general knowledge, mathematics, Vedic and Buddhist literature, logic, grammar and so on. It was a common practice for gurus or teachers to be offered dakshina or donations from their students.

After independence, Indian leaders viewed education to be an effective tool for social change and development. The administrative control that was effectively initiated in 1950s had it initiating policies by the early fifties to group villages under Community Development Blocks. The government then became the regulatory body for providing education to up to 100 villages under the Block Development Officer who oversaw a geographical area of 150 square miles.

Despite setbacks rural education programmes were in time more or less organized and established, albeit they worked haphazardly. And in time private educational institutions began coming up to form part of the network of rural education initiatives. In time nursery schools, elementary schools, secondary school, and schools for adult education for women were set up all over the rural areas.

For some reason government run rural education agenda worked as a backlog in the wake of the general stagnation and in some areas to this day (especially in remote areas) education ideas kept failing. It was in this scenario that private schooling and increasingly now NGO run schools began taking over the need to educate our rural children. Also since government rural schools remain poorly funded and understaffed these new initiatives were found to be pretty effective.

Education in rural India is valued differently from the urban setting, for obvious reasons, chief amongst which is that kids are deployed in the family traditions for their livelihoods. Also there remained a distinct gender bias that is largely prevalent even now. Clearly even today there are still areas where children have never attended school! Surprising as this may sound, but we also have clear indications of rural children looking for different outlets other than traditional occupations that seem to be dithering. It is time to invest in rural education afresh.

We need to take positive steps to turn rural education more vocational or job oriented. Also the government too is taking plentiful steps to promote vocational education to include the rural students into the development concourse. While urban India has made very impressive progress to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century and we have the best IT force in the world, unfortunately rural school education needs to buckle up to join the race.

HERD Foundation draws inspiration from its own mother concern VSPMAHE or Vidya Shikshan Prasarak Mandal that began spreading education in the early seventies. In fact the genesis of VSPM occurred for the purpose of making education a trusted means for achieving socio-economic development of the rural people in the region. Education was considered the medium by which people could be made self reliant and encouraged to move ahead in life. Living in the context of present day realities HERD Foundation is keen to manifest vocational skills educational opportunities for rural students to make them self sufficient.

Learning in Villages

Learning in Villages

International Literacy Day – September 8

International Literacy Day

… and education for all

The world marks International Literacy Day as the day to highlight the importance of literacy. September 8 is nominated by UNESCO to spread the importance of ensuring that children have opportunities to learn to read and write. HERD Foundation addresses the challenge for promoting literacy and functional literacy too. The available statistics make us compelled to urgently address the issue of spreading literacy. Countless children, especially in rural areas have no access to education. This is why our parent body Vidya Shikshan Prasarak Mandal (VSPM) takes it upon itself to provide due outreach.

Our focus is to make parents understand the inclusion of girls for basic education. Gender inequality is a fact of life, more so in the rural environment. Girls are more likely to be kept away from schools than boys. This fact further entrenches them in continued poverty. It is imperative to promote education for girls and we stress the role of education for them to understand the importance of building their own futures. With the kind of political will and momentum that has been put in place, we hope to ensure that all children and especially girls get the chance to study and learn to secure promising futures.

This year’s theme for International Literacy Day is “Literacy and Sustainable Development’. HERD Foundation continues to highlight the role of literacy in promoting sustainable development. We ensure that rural people in particular learn to be decisive in economic, social and political empowerment. Actually, HERD Foundation was established with this very theme in mind. Our core values include literacy as an agent for change towards sustainable development for all.

VSPM continues to ascertain education as a basic right for all. With this in end, we work towards fulfillment of our dream of an educated populace in our region. Our role has primarily been that of starting schools in rural areas so that the village folk can access basic schooling for their children. Gradually we are also setting up colleges to help kids experience the academic challenges of a developing world. Thus HERD Foundation promotes literacy by working directly for wider development goals.

Literacy offers equal employment opportunities. It is to this end that we have been working steadily. We have made youngsters in our area realize that their earning potential increases significantly when they apply themselves to earmarking their preferred area of study. It is in this context that we are keen to work towards vocational education courses and even skill enhancing courses that will help them earn their livelihoods. HERD Foundation stands clear on this issue even though the road might appear uphill. However we are certain of the benefits that will be achieved in due course by offering literacy and education for the future of our country.

“Literacy is fully recognized as one of the most powerful accelerators of sustainable development…literacy not only changes lives, it saves them.”

Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO

Vocational Education

Employable Education