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Remarks by Ambassador on occasion of 143rd Birth Anniversary of Sardar Patel

Posted on: October 31, 2018 | Back | Print

Today marks the 143rd Birth Anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the iconic figures of India’s freedom struggle. He, together with Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru, can be justly credited with India’s independence and successful transition to a unified federal repbulic. 

Sardar Patel was an extraordinary leader, freedom fighter and architect of India’s integration.  Better known as “Iron Man of India,” he remains an enduring icon of patriotism, nationalism and the spirit of public service.   His contribution to the Indian Independence needs no further elaboration. His efficient management of flood situation in Ahmedabad in 1927, his exemplary leadership in the Bardoli Satyagraha, his integrity and commitment gained him the trust & confidence of workers & industrialists, peasants & landlords alike. In the aftermath of Partition, Patel demonstrated his true concern for refugees, regardless of religion and spearheaded efforts to restore peace across the nation. Given his formidable organizational abilities and unflinching commitment to nation-building, Sardar Patel was appointed as the first deputy prime minister and home minister of independent India.  It was in this capacity that he brought about the unification of India, thus realising the dreams of millions of Indians. He is remembered for the determination and astuteness with which he went about the task of integration of over 500 princely states into the framework of federal India. He used his powers of persuasion, tact and diplomacy to get 565 princely states to accede to the Union of India. It was this monumental feat that won him his reputation as the Iron Man of India

It is in tribute to this giant of a man that Prime Minister Modi has today unveiled his statue, the “Statue of Unity” on the banks of river Narmada in Gujarat. This statue, which is twice as tall as Statue of Liberty in New York, is today the world’s tallest statue.  befits the indispensable contribution of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to Indians, and will remain as a tall reminder for unity peace and harmony to all.

And it is in recognition of his role that his birth anniversary is marked in India as National Unity Day or Rashtriya Ekta Diwas.  Unity in diversity is indeed one of our biggest strengths. We can move forward and attain the heights of development that we seek to achieve if and only if, we are unified in our spirit and actions.  Our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has rightly said that “If 125 crore Indians with the mantra of unity, peace and harmony walk one step together shoulder to shoulder, then the country will move 125 crore steps in one go.” Such harmony despite the diverse languages and culture of India is an example in itself for the whole world to learn. In his public life, Sardar Patel constantly exhorted our people to remain true to their ideals and to place country and society above self. In his words, "Guns can protect freedom from aggressive designs of neighbours or other foreign states. But internally, it is the honest core of the people and the true realisation of the responsibilities of a free citizen that alone can save freedom from the machinations of self-seeking and interested parties and individuals.”

Jai Hind.