Independence and After: A Collection of Speeches, 1946-1949

Independence and After: A Collection of Speeches, 1946-1949

Independence and After: A Collection of Speeches, 1946-1949

Independence and After: A Collection of Speeches, 1946-1949

Excerpt

The following speeches, barring four, cover the period of a little over a year and a half immediately following the attainment of independence by India. They are grouped according to topic and arranged in chronological order.

The wide range of Jawaharlal Nehru's interests, however, has inevitably swelled not only the number of the sections, but also the section called "Miscellaneous." For this reason no single principle has determined the selection of the speeches. Some of them, notably on Kashmir, give a connected historical narrative; others bring out important matters of policy; yet others breathe sentiments which have inspired India and will inspire readers abroad. The unique personality of the speaker has given them all a basic unity. His insistence on moral values, disarming candor and spontaneous sincerity have invested the spoken word with lasting significance.

At the same time, the variety and versatility of his interests and his alert awareness of facts and tendencies have imparted to the Prime Minister's speeches an immediacy of purpose. They may rightly be regarded as "the abstracts and brief chronicles of our time." They underline the stress of events and crises which his great country has had to face since the dawn of freedom and is still having to face. Political slavery has ended, but the promised land is yet far. "This generation," as the Prime Minister has said, "is sentenced to hard labor"; for years to come only toil and tears are to be the portion of India before she can complete the noble mansion of her greatness.

Dangers and difficulties overcome and glories achieved also find a place in these speeches. The Prime Minister never tires of insisting that there is always a hope and a promise as long as his people do not forget what their great leader, Mahatma Gandhi, taught them: as long as they relate ends to means, this ancient nation is bound to come into its own and take its proper place in the comity of nations.

The speeches in this selection were all delivered in English except one; "The Last Journey" has been translated from Hindustani in which it was originally made.

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