Our Independence Day is, very specially, our Prime Minister’s day. It has been that way since our very first Independence Day, August 15, 1947, when Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first Prime Minister, chiselled his name for all time into that date with his ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech in Parliament House. Independence Day, the Red Fort and our Prime Minister unfurling the national flag from there have come to make up a triptych of freedom.
All our Prime Ministers have unfailingly given to the nation a vision of its greatness and a sense of its agonising realities. On August 15, 1948, exactly 70 years ago today, Nehru said from Red Fort: “… freedom is not a mere matter of political decision or new constitutions, not even a matter of what is more important, that is, economic policy. It is of the mind and heart and if the mind narrows itself and is befogged and the heart is full of bitterness and hatred, then freedom is absent.”