Tryst With Destiny – Comprehension


Wren and Martin Comprehension Exercise 147

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. 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.

At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?

Freedom and power bring responsibility. That responsibility rests upon this Assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Neverthless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now. That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over.
-Jawaharlal Nehru

1. Express in your own words: (a) we made a tryst with destiny; (b) at the stroke of the midnight hour; (c) when the world sleeps; (d) when we step out from the old to the new; (e) we take the pledge of dedication; (f) at the dawn of history; (g) India discovers herself again; (h) with the memory of sorrow.

  • we succeeded in achieving our goals
  • at 12 o’clock in midnight
  • in the night
  • when we make changes
  • we commit ourselves to the service of the nation
  • at the end of freedom struggle
  • India gains freedom
  • not forgetting the precious lives lost of our freedom fighters

2. In what does the “Service of India” consists, according to the author?
The service of India consists in the service of millions who suffer.

3. What are the ideals which India has never forgotten?
India has never forgotten the ideals which gave her strength.

4. Mention some of the responsibilities of freedom and power.
Freedom and power bring the responsibilities to serve to the millions of poor people, to end poverty, discrimination and the inequality of opportunity.

5. This speech is concerned with the living as well as the dead. In what way does Nehru appeal to his listeners? What motive urges Nehru to rouse the India of today to action?

The freedom, the new start and the future of India urge Nehru to the India of today to action.

6. Quote the line that has a direct reference to Mahatma Gandhi.
“The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye.”