Independence Day 2020: From 'stroke of midnight' to 'Swaraj is my birthright'; quotes that stood test of time
The fight for freedom saw stalwarts like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Chandra Shekhar Azad, BR Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh, Sarojini Naidu among others raise the spirit of the nation with their fiery speeches
Independence Day 2020: India's first prime minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's, words on the eve of Independence are often considered to be one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century, and to perfectly capture the essence of India’s struggle against the British Raj.
"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," he had said.
Independence Day celebrates India's freedom from 200 years of imperial rule under the British, characterised by countless sacrifices and struggles.
Men, women and children laid down their lives in the country's fight against the British, and Independence Day honours the sacrifices of innumerable brave souls who relentlessly strove to achieve freedom.
The long and arduous journey towards freedom has seen stalwarts like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Chandra Shekhar Azad, BR Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh and Sarojini Naidu, among others raise the spirit of the nation with their fiery speeches that have become timeless statements chronicling the country’s journey towards independence.
From Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose famously stating, "Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom", and "Swaraj is my Birthright" speech by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, or the Quit India speech by Mahatma Gandhi on 8 August, 1942 in Bombay — the history of Indian Independence is rife with such inspirational words.
While the present COVID-19 pandemic demands celebrations be muted, there are a number of famous quotes one can share as messages on Facebook and on WhatsApp to instill a sense of pride and celebrate India’s 74th Independence Day.
- “If yet your blood does not rage, then it is water that flows in your veins. For what is the flush of youth, if it is not of service to the motherland.” - Chandra Shekhar Azad
- “So long as you do not achieve social liberty, whatever freedom is provided by the law is of no avail to you.” – B.R. Ambedkar
- “It is easy to kill individuals, but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled, while the ideas survived.” — Bhagat Singh
- "Let new India arise out of peasants' cottage, grasping the plough, out of huts, cobbler and sweeper." — Swami Vivekananda
- “A day will come when unvanquished Man will retrace his path of conquest, despite all barriers, to win back his lost human heritage." —Rabindranath Tagore
- "We want deeper sincerity of motive, a greater courage in speech and earnestness in action" — Sarojini Naidu
- “Democracy and socialism are means to an end, not the end itself.” — Jawaharlal Nehru
- “Freedom is never dear at any price. It is the breath of life. What would a man not pay for living?” — Mahatma Gandhi
With Sri Lanka's 75th Independence Day commemorated on February 4 and India's 74th Republic Day celebrated on January 26, the collaborative performance was a fitting tribute to the joint celebrations of the national days of the two countries
President Ranil Wickremesinghe presided over the ceremony which featured a military parade with a 21-gun salute