Do you remember the iconic speech that Jawaharlal Nehru gave on the eve of our Independence, in 1947? After 70 years, it is still considered as one of the most memorable speeches ever given. Over the years, Indian Prime Ministers (14 in total) have given several speeches which the nation pays special attention, on Independence Day.

Fun fact: earlier, all the Prime Ministers used papers having key points to be made in the speech, at Red Fort. They would usually take at least two to three days to prepare. From 1987 to 2013, all Prime Ministers shifted to a full written speech. The reason behind it being Rajiv Gandhi, in his 1986 speech, Rajiv Gandhi committed a huge mistake, by mentioning Independence Day as Republic Day. Doordarshan and Akashvani were forced to delete this blunder from their archives. But the print media had a field day publishing cartoons and having fun at the Prime Minister’s expense. From then on, Rajiv Gandhi started delivering written speeches.

But this 26-year-old custom of delivering written speeches was changed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his maiden Independence speech on 2014. Modi, like P V Narasimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee before him, is an orator; he ignored the bureaucrats who advised against it and went ahead and gave an extempore speech, obviously keeping key points on paper.

So on our 71st Independence Day, take a look at some of the most memorable speeches given by our Prime Ministers, that left people with hope and inspiration.