Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Dates with destiny

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.

Thus Pundit Nehru greets India's freedom in one of the most wellknown speeches of the 20th century.

I came across this the other day:

There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.

I know you are thinking 'cool, Obama channels Nehru'. Unfortunately, it's not Obama. It's Franklin D Roosevelt, speaking before the Democratic Convention on 27 June 1936, well over 11 years before Nehru. The above sentences appear towards the end of the speech, followed by this:

In this world of our in other lands, there are some people, who, in times past, have lived and fought for freedom, and seem to have grown too weary to carry on the fight. They have sold their heritage of freedom for the illusion of a living. They have yielded their democracy.

I believe in my heart that only our success can stir their ancient hope. They begin to know that here in America we are waging a great and successful war. It is not alone a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy. We are fighting to save a great and precious form of government for ourselves and for the world.

Here is the rest of FDR's speech.