07 Freedom Brings Changes and Challenges! - Irwin Almeida

posted Aug 10, 2017, 9:34 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 10, 2017, 9:34 AM ]
August 15, 1947 was the day India became Independent. August is a month of many celebrations. August 15 is also the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady taken up body and soul into heavenly glory. On August 28 is the Feast of St Augustine of Hippo who, by his own admission, was a sinner, became an agent of liberation and wrote his famous book City of God.

Freedom brings to mind the sacrifices of scores of bravehearts on whose tombs our freedom is built. These dedicated freedom fighters, guided by the Gandhian ideology, pursued peaceful demonstrations without any bloodshed.

Among these illustrious patriots was the renowned Barrister Joseph Baptista, whose loyalty endeared him to the people and earned him the sobriquet Kaka. As a staunch proponent of Home Rule, he was closely associated with Veer Savarkar, Lokmanya Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai and others. On the other hand, Mahatma Gandhi first lit the flame of the freedom movement at various landmarks to begin India's long journey to its midnight tryst with destiny.

Cautiously supporting this struggle for freedom, Baptista advocated orderly progress. He therefore warned, "Sagacious statesmen will perceive the wisdom of conciliating Congressmen who pin their faith in the creed of non-violence. Suspicion and distrust must be ended. An absolutely straightforward policy has become absolutely indispensable. It also promises the maximum measure of peace, goodwill and orderly progress."

At midnight of August 14-15, 1947, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, made the most striking speech ever by an Indian. His historic words stirred the nation, and shall always be remembered by those of that time who were witness to the momentous change. His words are relevant even more today, as the country is faced with several challenges.

He declared, and I quote for posterity: "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.