AIR spotlight summary on “The Role of Sardar Vallabhai Patel in Uniting the Nation”.
October 31, 2016 marks the 141st birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhai Patel who is one of the founding fathers of Republic of India. He was called the Iron man and was the first Home Minister of the country. He had the tough task of unifying the 550 odd princely states into one homogenous country.
The task of Uniting the Nation
- Uniting the Nation was indeed a formidable task because things were done in a context where lot of fast moving developments were taking place. If Mahatma Gandhi was the father of the nation, Jawaharlal Nehru was the father of the Indian State, Sardar Vallabhai Patel could be legitimately claimed to be the Father of the Indian Union. It was he through the tireless efforts, through persuasion, diplomacy, sometimes threat of coercion, military use and the whole process was a lasting achievement to the building of the Indian Republic.
- P Menon in his book “Integration of Indian States” narrates the efforts of Sardar Vallabhai Patel and he mentions how the princes agreed to join the Union of India with the central government retaining the powers of Defence, External Affairs, communication and Railways.
- The only state which was given special status and special rights was Jammu and Kashmir where it was agreed that it would be protected in the constitution. For others the Instrument of Accession was an indication that they would join the Indian Union and certain promises were made, that their rights would be protected and privileges would be safeguarded. When it came to integration Sardar Vallabhai Patel laid great stress on accession.
- British colonial rule created a haphazard mix of territories. The boundaries that emerged were because of military conquests or treaties with the local rulers. It made no sense on the ground. One of the plans of the national movement was to put this in order by recognising the socio-cultural entities and would redraw the map of India. Sardar Vallabhai Patel contribution was to create the space for this reorganisation of states.
- Sardar Vallabhai Patel was the loyal and steadfast soldier of the Indian struggle for Independence. In 1991 Sardar Vallabhai Patel was given the Bharat Ratna. It is because of people like him that today we are proud of the Union of India.
Border issue during Uniting the Nation
- The whole question of borders was a new question that India had to face. The efforts of Sardar Vallabhai Patel was to make sure that an already complicated situation on the ground did not get further complicated. It was his commitment to a strong state and a strong union that motivated him to push where rulers were hesitant as to which would be a more advantageous option. He made it very clear that for those on this side of the border there was only one option and that was India.
Contribution in saving Jammu and Kashmir for India
- Those were the trouble times. The infiltrators from the other side of the border had begun moving in. During the enormous journey of the migration on the either side, Sardar Vallabhai Patel resolutely as Home Minister looked after the protection of the people.
- His contribution in the Kashmir crisis, air lifting of the troops was decisive and it was the prompt decision that he was known to take. There was no time lost in getting the troops there and halting the advancement of infiltrators.
Contribution during Hyderabad crisis
- Here it was a police action. It was a clear and decisive step which had not been taken. It had all the potential of creating a hot bed of instability in Hyderabad. Sardar Vallabhai Patel had the same kind of firmness in the case of Goa, but it was overruled because throwing Portuguese out by the use of armed force did not appeal to the government at that time. But later the government had to do it.
- Razakars went on a rampage and there was enormous civilian unrest and sufferings because of their violence. Sardar Vallabhai Patel acted promptly and retreat the situation.
How Sardar Vallabhai Patel manage to bring rulers to Indian fold
- Sardar Vallabhai Patel had skilful combination of diplomatic persuasion of pointing to the larger long term interests of the population and also with a certain amount of arms twisting which made it clear that there would be a price to pay if the rulers did not accept the conditions the Indian government was putting. The rulers tried to balance their own self interest, their own loyalties, and identities with the wellbeing of the people.
- Sardar Vallabhai Patel had strong will and his decisiveness, taking tough decisions, and his undivided loyalty towards Mahatma Gandhi marks him out among his peers.
- The granting of Privy Purse was logical at that time since the Union was being built with the cooperation of these princes. Subsequently the relations soured and the Privy Purse was abolished.
National Unity day (also known as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas) is celebrated every year on 31st of October by the people all through India. It is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who really unified the country. Rashtriya Ekta Diwas or National Unity Day was introduced by the Government of India in 2014 with the aim of celebrating this event every year on 31st October.
The aim of introducing this event is to pay tribute to the great man, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, on his birth anniversary by remembering his extraordinary works for the country. He really worked hard in keeping India united.
National Unity Day 2018
National Unity Day 2018 will be celebrated on 31st of October, at Wednesday by the people all over India. It would be celebrated as 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Why National Unity Day (Rashtriya Ekta Diwas) is Celebrated
National Unity Day (or Rashtriya Ekta Diwas) is the birthday (birth anniversary) of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a famous personality for uniting India. This day was decided and introduced by the central government of India in New Delhi in 2014 in order to observe the birth anniversary of Patel every year as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas. It aimed to pay tribute to him for his great efforts made to unite India.
This day was inaugurated in 2014 by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, by paying floral tributes at the statue of Sardar Patel and flagging off a program known as ‘Run For Unity’ in New Delhi. This program was planned to highlight the efforts made by Sardar Patel for uniting country.
At this day, a nationwide marathon is organized to increase awareness about Rashtriya Ekta Diwas and remember the great person.
Celebration of this occasion annually helps youth of the country to be aware of and provides an opportunity to everyone to maintain the integral strength of the nation. It makes Indian citizens to realize that how a national integrity helps in defeating the actual and potential threats for unity, integrity and security of the nation.
About Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is also known as the Iron Man of India who worked hard to make India an United India (Ek Bharat). He also requested the people of India to live together by uniting in order to create Shresth Bharat (Foremost India). Sardar Patel was born on 31st of October in 1875 at Karamsand, Gujarat.
He was also called as Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel. He died on 15th of December in 1950 at Bombay, Bombay State, India. He was a barrister, statesman, a leader of Indian National Congress and one of the founding fathers of the Republic of India. He worked hard a social leader for the Independence of country and integration of people to make a united and independent nation.
As being the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India he played a most important role in the integration of many Indian princely states to make a an Indian federation. He made huge efforts to restore the peace all across the nation. He was also the first chairman and founder of the E.M.H.S (Edward Memorial High School Borsad, currently named as Jhaverbhai Dajibhai Patel High School).
His dedication for the national integration was completely uncompromising in order to make a newly liberated united country. His dedication towards the unity in country made him able to integrate more than 500 independent princely states in 1947 to 1949 from the British rule through the Independence Act 1947.
He is affectionately remembered as the “Iron Man of India” and “Patron saint of India’s civil servants” as he established the modern all-India services system. In order to remember him annually, Rashtriya Ekta Diwas is introduced by the Government of India in 2014.
How National Unity Day (Rashtriya Ekta Diwas) is Celebrated
National Unity Day is an initiative celebrated every year to commemorate Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary. It is celebrated by the people of India by organizing variety of events. A floral tribute is given to the statue of Sardar Patel every year at the Patel Chowk, Parliament Street, New Delhi in the morning.
Various programmes are organized by the government of India to mark the occasion such as run for unity, pledge taking ceremony march past by the Indian police.
Run for Unity programme is held in the major cities, district towns and various places in the rural areas. Youths from the schools, colleges, universities, educational institutes, National Cadet Corps, National Service Scheme, etc take part in the programme very actively. It is organized at huge level in the National capital from Vijay Chowk to India Gate on the Rajpath at 8.30 am in the morning.
The second programme, which is organized most importantly in the government offices, public sectors, public institutions, etc, is pledge taking ceremony. It is organized to observe the occasion by truly taking the pledge in group.
Third event organized at this day is march past by the police (central armed police forces including scouts, guides, NCC, NSS, home guards, etc) on the streets of major cities and district towns. Somewhere, a pledge taking ceremony is held after the march past of police.
Employees and staffs from the municipal corporation of many cities also take part in the National Unity pledge and later in the Run for Unity. Students from various schools and colleges also perform variety of cultural activities including banners and posters making in order to spread the message of unity and security, essay writing, speech reciting, quiz competition, paintings, rhyme recitation, art making competition, debate on the related topic, etc.
The main objective of organizing variety of programmes at this day is to promote national integration among citizens of the India as well as maintain the unity and integrity of the country.
It has been requested by the Ministry of Human Resource Development to administer pledge taking in the schools and colleges so that students can be motivated and maintain the unity and integrity of the country in future. Thus, a notice has been issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education to administer the pledge in the schools.
Almost 250 centre coordinators has been appointed by the CBSE in schools all across India in order to organize the event in which more than 400-500 students come from the neighborhood schools at each centre to participate in the mass activities. Variety of activities play great role in conveying the message about importance of unity in maintaining peace, keeping public places clean, security, removing threats, etc in the country.
Rashtriya Ekta Diwas Pledge
Following is the pledge for Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day): “I solemnly pledge that I dedicate myself to preserve the unity, integrity and security of the nation and also strive hard to spread this message among my fellow countrymen.
I take this pledge in the spirit of unification of my country which was made possible by the vision and actions of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. I also solemnly resolve to make my own contribution to ensure internal security of my country.”