National Unity Day is observed on 31st October every year since 2014. Also referred to as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas, this commemorates the contributions of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in integrating more than 500 princely states and unifying the country. This day is hence, celebrated as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Jayanti in India.
- In 2014, it was the Modi government that announced the observation of 31st October as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas to pay tribute to Sardar Patel.
- Patel is a prominent figure in the Indian independence struggle and is also known as the Iron Man of India.
- He is a founding father of the Indian Republic. He played a significant role in keeping post-independence India unified as a country.
Statue of Unity – Inaugurated on National Unity Day 2018
In October 2018, the honourable Prime Minister inaugurated the Statue of Unity in Gujarat. This statue was created to honour Sardar Patel on his 143rd birth anniversary.
- The statue stands 182 metres tall and covers an area of 20,000 square metres in Sadhu-Bet Island.
- There is an artificial lake with an expanse of 12 square kilometres around the statue.
- The statue is the tallest in the world and it shows Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel wearing a dhoti and a shawl.
- The government envisions that the location of the Statue of Unity will be a world-class tourist location that offers infrastructure for research, education, and entertainment.
- The statue itself was created within 46 months, and is truly an architectural and engineering splendour.
- The government intends to construct a cactus garden in the vicinity of the statue. This will be a unique botanical garden that will house a wide variety of cacti and succulents. The government has set aside 836 square metres of land for this purpose.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Jayanti 2019
On 31 October 2019 (Sardar Patel Jayanti), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the decision to withdraw Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir is dedicated to Sardar Patel. This was also the 144th birth anniversary of Patel. On this day, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have got the official status of union territories.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had once said that he would have been able to resolve the Kashmir issue without too much complication if it was under his prerogative. Modi highlighted this in his speech on National Unity Day 2019.
The Prime Minister also participated in the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas Parade which is called the ‘Run for Unity’ event. The marathon was organised in New Delhi. It saw the participation of hundreds of sports enthusiasts and prominent political leaders.
The National Unity Day 2019 Theme is to bring the entire country together and stay united while fighting against extremism and internal conflicts.