May 31, 2023
Tryst with Destiny

Tryst with Destiny

A look into the initial years of post independent India

India gained its independence on August 15, 1947, and the momentous occasion was marked by celebrations across the nation. The country had been liberated after years of struggle, with countless patriots and martyrs sacrificing their lives for the cause. However, the joy was tinged with sadness because the country had been partitioned, leading to communal riots and an exodus of people from both states.

In his famous speech to the Constituent Assembly on the night of August 14, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, said, “Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge…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…We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again.”

However, independence was only the beginning of a long struggle for the newly formed country. India faced immediate problems such as territorial and administrative integration of the princely states, rehabilitation of refugees who had migrated from Pakistan, communal riots, and the protection of Muslims threatened by communal gangs. The country also had to avoid war with Pakistan and deal with the Communist insurgency. Restoration of law and order and political stability was another challenge.

In addition, India had medium-term problems such as framing a constitution and building a representative democratic and civil libertarian political order, organizing elections to put in place the system of representative and responsible governments at the Centre and in the states, and abolishing the semi-feudal agrarian order through thoroughgoing land reforms.

The newly formed independent government also had the long-term tasks of promoting national integration, pushing forward the process of nation-in-the-making, facilitating rapid economic development, removing endemic poverty, and initiating the planning process. It also sought to bridge the gap between mass expectations and their fulfillment, to get rid of social injustice, inequality and oppression, and to evolve a foreign policy which would defend Indian independence and promote peace in a world getting divided into hostile power blocs.

India faced all these challenges within the framework of the basic values to which the national movement had been committed and within the parameters of a broad national consensus.

The Nehru years were marked by optimism, a certain faith in the country’s future, and a joie de vivre. The people and the political leadership set out to handle these short-term and long-term problems with dedication and idealism. However, some of this euphoria disappeared with the India-China war of 1962.

In conclusion, India’s initial years after independence were marked by struggles and challenges. The country had to deal with immediate, medium-term, and long-term problems, and it did so within the framework of the basic values to which the national movement had been committed. Despite the challenges, the Nehru years were marked by optimism and a sense of excitement, and the country’s leadership set out to handle the problems with dedication and idealism.

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