We need not meet on a battlefield of a war fought amongst us or against invaders, for this battle is to be fought in our hearts and minds. The brave men, living or dead, who struggled to achieve our nation’s freedom, have consecrated with blood and sweat this nation, far above our poor judgment of selecting the people to lead it forward. The world will little note, nor long remember what is said here, but it can never forget what they did. It is for us, the people of the nation, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to remind ourselves of the unending quest of a nation through trackless centuries to strive in face of countless odds, emerging victorious or failing, yet never losing sight of the quest or lay down the ideals of peace, equality and oneness with nature, which are her strengths.
In a global arena, we stand at the start of a period of ill fortune, wrought with problems of poverty, population, global warming, energy crisis and inflation. These problems are not the result of divine wrath upon humanity, but brought upon ourselves by our thoughtless pursuits suiting our selfish interests and behavior contrary to our ideals. This should provoke us to will the end of this era and rediscover ourselves as individuals capable of doing the right thing, to be wanting to awaken our real conscience and no longer take pride in the ability to break the rules and get away with it. And so listening to it, we strive forth not alone, willing others to fall behind, but as one state, one country, hand in hand, towards the quest laid down by the founders of this great nation. The achievement of such unity will only be a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us.
Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future? The service to India no longer means the service of the millions who suffer. It is no longer prudent to aim to wipe every tear from every eye. It is a larger effort of uplifting each one and in the process, each mind, to want to not bring a single tear to any eye. We need to labor and work hard, walk a path potholed with our own desires, asking us to shy away from sacrifice for a greater good, asking us to be morally weak just because someone else was too. And yet we may falter, succumb to our inborn weakness momentarily, we need to remind ourselves to rise above it and make amends.
Let us not give to the future generation the reason to add from our generation people to the ranks of Jaichands and Mir Jaffers and instead rejoice in the fact that we as a generation went on to rebuild the foundation of a nation aimed at becoming the most revered nation that led and not just aimed to lead the progress of humanity. Once committed to such a cause, let us remind ourselves to purge ourselves of the sins committed by putting the future of our nation into the hands of people who believe not in its progress but only their own. Let us ensure that we do not rejoice the existence of a government and its opposition who hold amongst their ranks convicted criminals. Let us not rejoice in the fact that scammers are in charge of the decisions that affect the progress of a nation. Let us not rejoice in the fact that the leaders we elect are ones who only espouse the cause of fragmentation of the nation by creed or language or caste, or those who hold dear the progress of a community instead of the whole nation. Let us for once put the ‘we’ before the ‘me’. Let us awaken to a future we would promise to the future children of this nation.
Only when we start on this arduous journey, shall we hallow our respect for the ones who gave the last full measure of devotion to this nation and thus solemnly resolve that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not only not perish from the earth, but shall be the greatest one ever conceived.
P.S. This 'speech' is totally inspired from the 'Tryst with destiny' speech by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and the 'Gettysburg Address' by Abraham Lincoln and is a result of the events that unfolded in the hallowed portals of the Parliament on and before 22nd July 2008.