Odisha State Board Class X English Literature — Tryst with Destiny
Tryst with Destiny .. by Nehru
Introduction .. After a long freedom struggle that lasted nearly a century, India got her freedom. The path to freedom was riddled with many unforeseen difficulties, desertion of leaders to form rival factions, ideological rifts and many painful compromises that cost India dearly. The partition of the subcontinent bled the country white. Leaders inflamed passions by making the Hindus and Muslims turn on one another with beastly vengeance. Mahatma Gandhi, whom millions revered as the ‘Father’ or ‘Bapu’ was felled by a fanatic who thought Gandhi was too soft on the Muslims. The violence lasted for months. As blood spilled in the streets, Mahatma saw his message of love and harmony being trampled with utter contempt. Revulsion and remorse gripped his mind, and he refused to take part in any merry making when his cherished dream — free India – came to fruition.
It would be unwise to say that such sadness had not affected Nehru. He was a pragmatist. As the first prime minister of an ancient country, he had a daunting task in hand. He had to lead the country to learn to govern itself, chart a course of rapid growth, and modernize itself to command respect in the international stage. The task was very challenging. The enormity of task set Nehru’s heart aflutter.
With romantic idealism and a steely resolve to forge ahead leaving behind the past, Nehru assumed the reins of the country with steely resolve and unbounded energy. He knew he was making history. His heart must have throbbed as he stepped forward to make his speech in the Parliament Hall.
From his speech, we get a glimpse of the torrent of sadness and regret that remained in the back of his mind as he spoke. Utilizing his superb oratory skills, he exuded boundless energy, conviction of purpose, and a vision that was mesmeric, audacious, and lofty.
1. What is the pledge we shall redeem? .. At the outset of the freedom struggle, many eminent and patriotic Indians had conjured an India that would be free, prosperous and vibrant. The foreign yoke had to be cast off for India to find her feet. This is the pledge Nehru wants to renew.
2. What does Nehru mean when ………… to life and freedom? .. Nehru gave his speech as the clock struck 12 at night. From then on, India was to be ‘free’ nation. Around this time, most Indians had retired to bed, oblivious of the precious moments in our history. When they awoke, they would be citizens of a free country. The morning rays of sun would dispel colonial rule and the gloom associated with it.
3. What is the moment that comes rarely in history?
There are moments in the history of most countries, when they are born, or are subjugated by an invader or are re-born breaking free the colonial stranglehold. Such transitions may come at interval of a few centuries. Obviously, such moments are very very rare.
4. What, according … , quest?
From time immemorial, India has been a land of ideals, discovery and introspection. Its people are deeply inward-looking, spiritual, but never afraid to explore the unknown. Its history has been punctuated by successes and failures, but the journey has seldom ceased. This striving to discover itself is what Nehru refers as ‘quest’.
5. How do we end a period of misfortune? The best way is to open a new page in the life and resolutely move forward. One must not lose one’s vitality lamenting the misfortune or sorrow.
6. What does Nehru ….. future?
We are promise-bound to remove the scourge of poverty that has bedeviled us for ages. Poverty brings illiteracy, disease and backwardness. The great son of India (alluding to Gandhiji) had to wipe sorrow from the lives of our deprived countrymen. They had succeeded, but only partly. Nehru wanted us to rededicate ourselves to accomplish this unfinished task of bringing wealth, prosperity and all –round progress to our countrymen languishing in poverty.
7. What responsibility ……………. rest?
When we became free, we can’t indulge in acts that break the law or hurt others sentiments. The new-found power must never be mis-utilized to the detriment of the collective interest of the nation. This self-imposed restraint is ‘responsibility’. The Assembly (now known as parliament) is an elected body chosen by the people. Responsibility rests on this elected body.
8. What does Nehru mean ……………. star?
By ‘star’, Nehru refers to the emergence of India from colonial slumber to un-bounded energy and enthusiasm. India is a dominant country of the East, and India’s freedom must bring good tidings for the entire region. India’s creative energy must unleash similar energy in other countries in the region to re-build themselves.
9. In what spirit ……………….. freedom?
Nehru wanted the celebrations to be somber and dignified. The continued communal violence had pained Gandhiji so much that he had thought it wise to spend his time in areas where Hindus and Muslims were still fighting each other. Nehru called upon his countrymen not forget him, nor his idealism deeply anchored to non-violence, peace and harmony.
10. Which aspects of Gandhiji’s ………… Nehru?
Nehru understood Gandhiji’s deep appreciation of India’s traditional values, the core of its soul, and its yearning for freedom. Gandhiji rebelled against the prejudices and the oppression entrenched in the Indian society and worked hard to remove the muck. Such commitment and untiring effort to lift the Indian society out of its morass inspired Nehru.
11. What are Nehru’s thoughts about …….. border?
Nehru felt a lot of goodwill for the people of East Pakistan [now Bangladesh] and West Pakistan. Although in both places Hindus were at the receiving end of communal frenzy, Nehru’s heart was surprisingly free of any rancor or vengeance against them.
12. What should Indians ………. freedom?
Nehru dreamed to banish poverty, strengthen the roots of democracy and propel the country towards high growth and prosperity. He wanted to remove the symptoms of poverty like ignorance and disease. Simultaneously, he wanted to foster an atmosphere where democratic institutions like free press, judiciary and parliament could grow.
13. What does Nehru mean ………….. us?
India had inherited myriad problems when it was born. The communal fire was ravaging communities, and superstition and prejudices ran deep. To compound the problem, poverty was rife. Nehru knew how difficult the task of nation-building was. It was going to be a long arduous haul. The government could not do it alone. So, Nehru wanted the citizens to come forward to lend their shoulders to the task of nation-building.
14. How can we ….. peoples?
We can cooperate with them in a collective effort to strengthen democracy, fight poverty and promote global peace and harmony.
15. What is our duty to our motherland?
We must proactively propagate communal and ethnic understanding and counter the venom of inter-religious intolerance. We need to be steadfastly resolve to work hard in our respective spheres to promote prosperity and integrity. We must repose our faith in our deep-rooted ancient values and never allow corruption to creep in. Our commitment to our motherland must be unshakable.