On the occasion of Sardar Patel’s 142nd birth anniversary Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off a run in New Delhi, called the ‘Run for Unity’.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
* A revered name in Indian politics Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was a lawyer and a political activist. He worked very closely with Mahatma Gandhi and was deeply influenced by Gandhi’s ideology and principles.
* He played a leading role during the Indian Independence Movement. After independence, he was crucial in the integration of over 500 princely states into the Indian Union.
* He was the first Home Minister of Independent India and his uncompromising efforts towards consolidation of the country earned him the title ‘Iron Man of India’.
* Born on October 31, 1875 in Nadiad village of modern day Gujarat, Sardar Patel started his academic career in a Gujarati medium school and later shifted to an English medium school.
* Patel joined Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement and travelled around West India to recruit 3,00,000 members. He also collected more than Rs 1.5 million for the party fund
* He worked extensively against alcohol consumption, untouchability, caste discrimination and for women emancipation in Gujarat and outside
* When Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned, Patel was asked to lead the Satyagraha movement in Nagpur in 1923 against the British law of banning the hoisting of the Indian Flag
* As India’s first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Patel played a key role in the integration of the princely states
* He contracted the Bubonic Plague when it swept through Gujarat and survived it. This plague killed about 12 million across India and China
* Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1991.
Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day) was introduced by the Government of India and inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. The intent is to pay tribute to Vallabhbhai Patel, who was instrumental in keeping India united. It is to be celebrated on 31 October every year as annual commemoration of the birthday of the Iron Man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the founding leaders of Republic of India.
The National Unity Day “will provide an opportunity to re-affirm the inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand the actual and potential threats to the unity, integrity and security of our country.
National Unity Day celebrates the birthday of Patel because, during his term as Home Minister of India, he is credited for the integration of over 550 independent princely states into India from 1947-49 by Independence Act (1947). He is known as the “Bismarck of India”.