07 May, 2021

Free At Last,The First Thirty-Six Heady Hours...

Free At Last,The First Thirty-Six Heady Hours...

The morning after. India wakes up to a new, independent dawn on August 15,1947. Huge crowds congregate at Delhi’s India Gate to witness the unfurling of the national flag. It proves an unforgettable experience, even for those who are barely into their teens,and throughout the subcontinent people burst out in spontaneous celebrations.

The Transfer of Power at a midnight ceremony on August 14-15 in the Council Hall. After being sworn in governor-general,Lord Mountbatten administers the oath of prime ministerial office to Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru’s stirring speech about India’s "tryst with destiny"thrills the new-born nation. Freedom comes,in Nehru’s well-crafted words,"not wholly or in full measure but very substantially". Yet,as millions savour this fateful midnight, away from Delhi,Gandhi is a lonely, broken man.

Night of August 14:Women put tilak on Nehru’s forehead before the midnight ceremony. Gestures of coronation filter into democracy. Nehru tours extensively, mingling with the jubilant citizens....

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