Our opportunities are great but let me warn you that when power outstrips ability, we will fall on evil days. We should develop competence
and ability which would help us to utilise the opportunities
which are now open to us. From tomorrow morning -- from midnight
today -- we cannot throw the blame on the Britisher. We have to
assume the responsibility ourselves for what we do. A free India will
be judged by the way in which it will serve the interests of the
common man in the matter of food, clothing, shelter and the social
Unless we destroy corruption in high places, root out every
trace of nepotism, love of power, profiteering and blackmarketing
which have spoiled the good name of this great country in recent times, we will not be able to raise the standards of efficiency in administration as well as in the production and distribution of the necessary goods of life.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru referred to the great contribution which this
country wil1 make to the promotion of world peace and the welfare
at mankind. The -- chakra, the Asokan wheel, which is there in the
flag embodies for us a great idea, Asoka, the greatest of our emperors,
look at the words of H G Wells regarding him 'Highnesses, Magnificences,
Excellencies, Serenities, Majesties -- among them all, he
shines alone a star Asoka the greatest of all monarchs.' He cut into
rock his message for the healing of discords. If there are differences,
the way in which you can solve them is by promoting concord.
Concord is the only way by which we can get rid of differences.
There is no other method which is open to us.
We are lucky in having for our leader one who is a world citizen, who
is essentially a humanist, who possesses a buoyant optimism and
robust good sense in spite of the perversity of things and the hostility
of human affairs. We see the way in which his Department interfered
actively and in a timely manner in the Indonesian dispute. (Loud
applause.) It shows that if India gains freedom, that freedom will be
used not merely for the well-being of India but for Vishva Kalyana,
world peace, the welfare of mankind.
Our pledge tells us that this ancient land shall attain her rightful and
honoured place. We take pride in the antiquity of this land for it is a
land which has been nearly four or five millenniums of history. It has
passed through many vicissitudes and at the moment it stands, still
responding to the thrill of the same great ideal.
Civilisation is a thing
of the spirit, it is not something external, solid and mechanical. It is
the dream in the people's hearts. It is the inward aspiration of the
people's souls. It is the imaginative interpretation of the human life
and the perception of the mystery of human existence. That is what
civilisation actual1y stands for.
We should bear in mind these great
ideals which have been transmitted to us across the ages. In this great
time of our history we should bear ourselves humbly before God, brace ourselves to this supreme task which is confronting us and
conduct ourselves in a manner that is worthy of the ageless spirit of
If we do so, I have no doubt that, the future of this land will be
as great as its once glorious past.
Photograph: Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images
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