More than his prime minister’s office, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first PM and the one who was in the office for the longest time from 1947 to 1964, is known to the country as an architect, visionary and a natural leader who commanded respect from the adults and love from the children.
On the eve of swearing-in Independent India’s first Prime Minister, he gave the most memorable and inspiring speech of his life to the country that remains alive forever called “Tryst with Destiny”.
“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.”
Whether he was a father of only Indira Gandhi or not, his preachings are there still to make them relevant to this day that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, belonging to a different political ideology and party, still remembers Nehru’s contribution in his interaction with students abroad.
What makes Nehru a natural leader is his self-less vision for the country and for the mankind, bereft of other narrow feelings that his contemporaries reeled under. His education in London, rich upbringing and wide exposure to the world’s cultures made him accept diversity as a natural ingredient of a happy living and that is what India is now and in future too.
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open,” he said and it rings in truth even to this day.
He even responded to children far away with equal magnanimity. When the children of Japan wrote to him and asked him to send them an elephant, he was quick and forthwith.”I sent them a beautiful elephant on behalf of the children of India… This noble animal became a symbol of India to them and a link between them and the children of India,” he wrote later.
To create awareness, he said, “There is nothing more horrifying than stupidity in action.”
Some memorable quotes by Jawaharlal Nehru:
“Facts are facts and will not disappear on account of your likes.”
“Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you is determinism; the way you play it is free will.”
“The policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all.”
“The future belongs to science and those who make friends with science.”
“Evil unchecked grows, evil tolerated poisons the whole system.”
“Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit.”
“The forces in a capitalist society, if left unchecked, tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.”
“The best and noblest gifts of humanity cannot be the monopoly of a particular race or country; its scope may not be limited nor may it be regarded as the miser’s hoard buried underground.”
“Loyal and efficient work in a great cause, even though it may not be immediately recognized, ultimately bears fruit”
“There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
“We have all become wayfarers and travellers marching on and on ….Yet,for those who can adapt themselves to this continuous journeying,there is no regret and they would not have it otherwise.A reture to the dull uneventful past is unthinkable.”
“Without that passion and urge, there is a gradual oozing out of hope and vitality, a settling down on lower levels of existence, a slow merging into non-existence. We become prisoners of the past and some part of its immobility sticks to us.”
“A leader or a man of action in a crisis almost always acts subconsciously and then thinks of the reasons for his action.”
“There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open”
“Time is not measured by the passing of yaers but by what one does, what one feels, and what one achieves.”
“I wish to declare with all earnestness that I do not want any religious ceremonies performed for me after my death. I do not believe in such ceremonies, and to submit to them, even as a matter of form, would be hypocrisy and an attempt to delude ourselves and others.”
“Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit”
“If any person raises his hand to strike down another on the ground of religion, I shall fight him till the last breath of my life, both as the head of the government and from the outside”
“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.”
“I like being with children and talking to them and, even more, playing with them. For the moment I forget that I am terribly old and it is very long ago since I was a child.”