Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps ...

... India will awake to life and freedom ...

This is part of the speech given by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India at its independence on 15th August 1947, sixty years ago today:

Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi (as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was known), together with Muhammad Ali Jinnah for Pakistan (whom I wrote about yesterday), were the two principal architects of and intellects behind the struggle for Indian independence:

Celebrating sixty years of Indian independence
15th August 1947 - 15th August 2007

Mahatma Gandhi
'Father of the Nation'

Jawaharlal Nehru
First Prime Minister of independent India

Click here to see larger images.
India is probably destined to be one of the major economies, with commensurate influence, in Asia and the wider world in coming decades. Its development since it gained independence has not been entirely even, but in recent years its economy has grown steadily and whilst there remain huge numbers of very poor people, the economic progress has percolated down to a significant proportion of the population already. The country is generally reckoned to be the world's largest genuine democracy. In a message to the nation ahead of the anniversary of independence, President Pratibha Patil, the country's first woman president, declared:

"Growth, when unevenly spread, dwarfs overall prosperity.

"We have to ensure equitable growth for all. The fruits of economic development must necessarily touch, especially, the living and working conditions of our toiling masses and people below the poverty line.

"For our nation to rise and claim its glorious destiny, we must realise that it is our billion hands that can shape it."
Happy independence day!

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