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Jawaharlal Nehru:

“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.” The iconic words spoken by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru captured the essence of the struggles that our forefathers had put in to gift us the freedom we take for granted today. Considered to be amongst the best speeches of the 20th century, Nehru focused on the need to provide food and housing, and to set up infrastructure such as dams and create big businesses. He ended his emotionally charged and patriotic speech with the heartfelt ‘Jai Hind’. Listen to the full speech here. Image: Lord Mountbatten swears in Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister of free India at the ceremony held at 8.30 a. m.on August 15, 1947.

Eight iconic Independence Day speeches delivered by India's Prime Ministers

As a nation, we have come a long way since Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru delivered his iconic speech from the Red Fort on August 15, 1947 – the day India was born. While evoking the freedom struggles and sacrifices of our freedom fighters, the speeches, over the years, have focused on a number of issues ranging from poverty and social equality to development and conservation.

As India prepares to celebrate the 73rd Independence Day on August 15th, here are some of the most iconic speeches delivered by our Prime Ministers from the ramparts of the Red Fort: