Ekta Diwas, also known as National Unity Day, is celebrated on October 31st each year, to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the founding fathers of the Republic of India. He was the first Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Home Affairs, honored with the title of “Iron Man of India” for his incredible work to unite our great nation.
Role of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in India’s Independence
Sardar Patel played a significant role in the unification of India after gaining independence from British rule in 1947. He was a lawyer by profession, but he became deeply involved in the Indian independence movement led by Mahatma Gandhi.
- He played a significant role in various civil disobedience campaigns, including the famous Dandi March in 1930, which protested against British salt taxes.
- He worked to mobilize and integrate peasants into the freedom movement. He was actively involved in addressing issues faced by Indian farmers, who were often oppressed by British colonial policies.
- Patel was a staunch advocate of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence (Satyagraha). He believed in peaceful resistance and played a key role in maintaining the nonviolent character of the Indian National Congress.
- He advocated for the use of Khadi by promoting the idea of Swadeshi (buying and using local products) to reduce reliance on British-made goods.
- He was a strong advocate for Hindu-Muslim unity and worked to bridge religious and communal divides. He played a vital role in the signing of the Poona Pact in 1932, which aimed to protect the political rights of the Dalits (formerly known as untouchables) and ensure their representation in Indian politics.
- After India gained independence in 1947, Patel played a critical role in the integration of more than 562 princely states into the newly formed Indian Union. His firm and persuasive diplomacy ensured the territorial integrity of the nation.
Importance as the “Iron Man of India”
Patel earned the nickname “Sardar” (meaning “leader” or “chief”) for his leadership qualities and his role in unifying India after independence. He was known as the “Iron Man of India” because of his strong and resolute leadership.
Unification of India
Sardar Patel’s persuasive diplomacy, political acumen, and determination played a pivotal role in ensuring the majority of princely states chose to join India. Through a combination of negotiations, discussions, and at times, coercive measures, he succeeded in achieving the unification of India by preserving its territorial integrity for a strong and united India.
Sadly, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel passed away on December 15, 1950, at the age of 75.
What is the Statue of Unity?
The Statue of Unity is a colossal statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, an influential leader in the Indian independence movement. The Statue of Unity is located in Gujarat and has become a major tourist attraction, drawing visitors from across India and around the world. Tourists can visit the statue, learn about Sardar Patel’s life and achievements, and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty in a picturesque view. The statue serves as a reminder of his tireless efforts in ensuring India’s territorial unity.
On this day, a pledge is read out in remembrance of Sardar Vallabhai Patel : “I solemnly pledge that I dedicate myself to the unity and integrity of India, and will work towards the well-being of the nation, with unwavering commitment. I pledge to uphold the vision and values of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Iron Man of India, who worked tirelessly to unite our great nation. I will strive to preserve the rich cultural heritage and diversity of our land while fostering a sense of oneness among all Indians. I take this pledge on National Unity Day, and I will continue to work towards a strong and united India.”
Why is National Unity Day Celebrated?
National Unity Day, also known as Ekta Diwas, is celebrated in India to honor the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was a prominent leader in the Indian independence movement and a key figure in the post-independence era.
In recognition of Sardar Patel’s immense contributions to the unification of India, the Government of India decided to observe his birth anniversary – October 31st, as National Unity Day. This decision was taken in 2014, marking the 139th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
The main objective of this day is to promote and emphasize the values of unity, and integrity, via the elimination of regional and sectarian divisions.
- The “Run for Unity” is a significant part of the celebration. People from all walks of life, including school children, adults, and officials, participate in runs or walks organized across the country. It spread the message of unity by paying tribute to Sardar Patel’s legacy.
- The Statue of Unity, a colossal statue of Sardar Patel, is a major attraction and a symbol of unity. Many people visit this statue on National Unity Day to pay their respects to Sardar Patel.
- On this day, many cultural events, including music, dance, and drama performances are organized to showcase India’s rich diversity and cultural heritage.
- Educational institutions and organizations may organize seminars, workshops, and discussions for the immense contribution of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
- Some people and organizations use National Unity Day as an opportunity to engage in community service, such as organizing blood donation camps to help the less fortunate.
- In the digital age, social media campaigns, hashtags, and online events are also used to spread the message of unity and honor Sardar Patel’s contributions.
National Unity Day serves as a reminder of the importance of a united and integrated India, and it honors the vision and efforts of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in achieving this goal. It is an occasion to foster a sense of national pride and unity among the diverse people of India.