With tears in eyes, he recalls Nehru's 'tryst with destiny' speech
He still gets tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat remembering the day when India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, made the historic "tryst with destiny" speech on the midnight of Aug 14, 1947.delhi Updated: Aug 15, 2010 11:54 IST
He still gets tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat remembering the day when India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, made the historic "tryst with destiny" speech on the midnight of Aug 14, 1947.
Ninety-two-year-old Bal Krishna Khurana was among the fortunate few who witnessed the historic moment unfold right before his eyes as the clock struck 12 that night. The glorious words are still etched in his memory.
"I still remember, I was in parliament on the midnight of Aug 14. There was a huge gathering in the hall and we were jostling for space," said Khurana, who migrated from Pakistan in 1943 at the age of 25.
"When Pandit Nehru uttered the words 'long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny...' there was not a single person in the hall who didn't have tears in his eyes," he added.
At that time, Khurana was 28 years old and was working in a post office in central Delhi.
He cannot forget the clamour to hear Nehru.
"We just couldn't believe our ears as we were sceptical of the British and weren't sure if they would keep their promise, but at the same time we were desperate to be free," said the man, who has four children and 11 grandchildren.
"Nehru's excitement and enthusiasm had to be seen to be believed. It was enough to inspire a whole nation," said Khurana, who lives in Geeta Colony in east Delhi.
He recalled the excitement and feeling of exhilaration. "The mood in the atmosphere was that of freedom and determination to craft a splendid future for our motherland and ourselves with our own hands," he stated.
"Those were the days when we believed that we can do it," he added.
But he feels disappointed with the current state of affairs.
"No one is enthusiastic about this day any more. The importance of the day is totally lost on them. Be it common people or politicians," he said.
"Independence Day just means hoisting the flag and delivering a speech. Where is the passion and emotion in their words?" he asked.
"I know the price that we have paid for our independence. People laid down their lives for this great nation. We waited for so many years for Aug 15 to happen and the corrupt politicians today are literally making a mockery of our freedom fighters," he added.
With tears in his eyes, he sings the national anthem and dedicates it to all the freedom fighters.
"I only have this much to offer to them as a tribute. Jai Hind."