As the clock struck midnight on August 15, 1947, the world's biggest democracy was born. India had become an independent nation. On the eve of that historic landmark, India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru gave a speech for the ages. India had redeemed its "tryst with destiny," he declared, "to awake to life and freedom." Nehru's mood that day was triumphant. "The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity," he said. Yet he was also mindful of the challenges ahead. "Freedom and power bring responsibility ... the future is not one of ease or resting, but of incessant striving."