Independence Day Speeches Kalam Nehru
Late APJ Abdul Kalam, the 11th President of India (Left) and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India (Right).Reuters/ILoveIndia

"At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom," said independent India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, while delivering nation's first Independence Day speech just before midnight on 14 August, 1947. 

'Tryst with Destiny' has always been remembered as the most powerful and motivational speech as Nehru inspired the citizens of India to build a new nation.

"We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell. 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," he had said even as India was getting closer to celebrate the official day of independence, 15 August.

[Read Nehru's full speech here.]

Nehru, however, was not the only political leader who inspired the nation with his magnificent speech. Notable leaders continued to encourage and motivate the countrymen to maintain what India had achieved in 1947, after years of struggle and fight against the British empire.

Once India achieved independence, there were leaders who aimed at getting India to the list of developed nations. And, the much-admired former President of India, who is dearly called the "People's President", was one of those leaders.

APJ Abdul Kalam, who passed away on 27 July, had one vision – "to transform it from the present developing status to a developed nation". Kalam, the 11th President of India, joined office in 2002 with the greater aim of transforming India in every way.

Delivering his first Independence speech as the President, Kalam had said, "The second vision of our nation is to transform it from the present developing status to a developed nation by integrated actions simultaneously in the areas of agriculture and food processing, education and healthcare, infrastructure development including power, information and communication technologies, and critical technologies. This greater vision will aim to alleviate poverty, illiteracy and unemployment. When the minds of the people of our country are unified and fused towards this vision, the dormant potential will manifest as a mammoth power leading to a happy and prosperous life of a billion people. This vision of the nation will also remove the conflicts arising out of differences and small thinking".

[Read Kalam's full speech from 2002 here, from 2003 here, from 2004 here and from 2005 here.]

The present Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, seems to share a similar vision. Like the late 'Missile Man' of India, Modi too focuses on the development of the nation, not just in the fields of technology but also in agriculture. He also aims at taking forward the ancient culture of the country..

"I have started making efforts at making the government, not an assembled entity, but an organic unity, an organic entity, a harmonious whole - with one aim, one mind, one direction, one energy... Let's resolve to steer the country to one destination," Modi had said while addressing the 68th Independence Day in 2014.

In beginning of his journey as the PM of India, Modi stressed on the need to do away with poverty and inequality between men and women of the society.

"Have we ever thought what the sex ratio in the country is like? 940 girls are born against per 1,000 boys. Who is causing this imbalance in the society? Certainly not God. I request the doctors not to kill the girl growing in the womb of a mother just to line their own pockets. I advise mothers and sisters not to sacrifice daughters in the hope of son... My 125 crore dear countrymen, let us resolve to eradicate poverty, to win against it. Let us move with the dream of poverty eradication from India," he had said.

[Listen to Modi's full speech here and Read it here.]

Several decades have passed since the great freedom fighters of India defeated the Britishers and achieved the independence that they had been fighting for. And with this year's celebration, India will be a year closer to completing seven decades of its independence.

Quick Links