"At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom," Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said these words 70 years ago to announce India's Independence from the British rule.
On August 15, 1947, India finally got freedom from the British rule. After the freedom struggle for years and countless sacrifices, India finally attained freedom. In February 1947, British prime minister Clement Attlee announced that India will get independence by June 1948. Later, the new viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, advanced the date for almost a year and decided August 15 as the date of power transfer.
On August 14, 1947, the Constituent Assembly of India met in the afternoon and continued the session till midnight. During the session, which was chaired by the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad, Nehru delivered his first speech "Tryst with Destiny" minutes before the clock struck 12, making the Independence of India.
"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."
"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," Nehru said in his speech.
As India celebrates 70 years of Independence this year, we take a look at some of the rare-unseen photos of the celebrations that took place on and after August 15, 1947.