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Run For Unity: Remembering the Iron Man Who Created One India

October 31st, the day celebrated as the national unity day in the loving and fond memory of The Iron Man of India – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a true nationalist, an epitome of sacrifice and a real hero, without whom the Indian freedom struggle as well as the history of independent India is incomplete.

A “Run for Unity” was organised on this day by the Government of India on the Rajpath in which more than 15000 people participated. The run was flagged of by the Prime Minister after his respectful and enlightening speech.

This marathon was organised to pay a tribute to the person who was the architect of modern India. It was Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who played a vital role in the accession of more than 560 independent kingdoms in India. It is because of him that we have one India. The PM said that Sardar gave us “Ek Bharat”, let us all make “Shrestha Bharat”.

It was 140th Birth anniversary of Sardar. His birthday was somehow undercelebrated or covered up as incidentally it is the same day when one of the dictators of modern world, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards. Sardar did not get due celebrations until 2014, when his birthday was celebrated for the first time with full vigour by the Government of India.

The “Run for Unity” this year was only the second in line in Independent India’s history of 68 years. What stole the show this year was the oath that the PM made everyone take during the ceremony.

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.

All the government officials were also made to pledge this oath on 30th October itself as 31st was a holiday being a Saturday.

PM in his speech said that Sardar Patel’s wisdom thwarted evil designs, ensured the emergence of modern and free India. “The PM recalled Sardar Patel’s contribution towards clean India. He recalled the initiatives of Sardar as Mayor of Ahmedabad during the 1920s, including a campaign for cleanliness, and a proposal for reservation of 50 percent of women.”- the PM’s official website reported.

It further reported that a new scheme named “Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat” would be rolled out soon which the union government is currently working upon, in consultation with the states. Under this scheme, two states would team up for a period of one year and help in cultural and students exchange that would give opportunity to understand and come closer to each other. He further added that different states could partner each other every year.

Sardar Patel was a true example of a selfless and sacrificing personality apart from his qualities of being a clear headed true nationalist. He stepped down from the candidature of Congress President which eventually was the election of first PM of Independent India on the insistence of Gandhiji, despite the overwhelming support of the people and his supporters. He worked under the Prime Ministership of Nehru and often led the cleaning up of the situation after Nehru messed it up.

Vallabhbhai Patel was born on 31 October, 1875 in Gujarat to Zaverbhai and Ladbai. He went to study Law in 1910 to England and completed his studies in 1913, came back and started his practice in Ahmedabad. He was offered many lucrative posts by the British Government because of his excellence in Law. But he rejected all as he was a staunch opponent of the British government.

After meeting Gandhiji at Gujarat Club, he got influenced by him and became his staunch follower. In 1918, he led a massive “No Tax Movement” against the British in Kaira because of the floods. He led a peaceful movement and because of this the British authority was forced to return the farmers their land. His efforts garnered him the title of “Sardar”. He also undertook the famous Bardoli Satyagrah in 1928.

At the time of independence, Indian territory was divided into three parts – first, ruled by British, second, territories of hereditary rulers and third, colonies of French and Portuguese. According to British, the province rulers were given choice to either accede to India or Pakistan or remain as an independent entity. This was critical regarding India’s future and security.

Many Congress leaders approached the provincial heads to accede to India but to no avail. It was then Sardar Patel sprang into action. He had to even undertake Operation Polo to accede Hyderabad to India which was the richest province of Asia. Therefore, we got to see the India which we see today which was solely due to the efforts of Sardar.

The marathon organised by the government on 31st was a great way of spreading the message of unity and remembering the contribution of the Lauhpurush in unification of India. These events help in making the people and young hearts of India-the children, aware and remember the sacrifices and great works of the leaders in the past. These leaders are worth following who left no stones unturned in making India a place as we see now.

It is because of his contribution that we can roam freely in India. One can go without passport and visa from Delhi to Chennai and from Kolkata to Mumbai. Had it been otherwise, and then we had to get our passports evaluated more than 100 times in a journey of about 1500 kilometres. It was the dream to make India one of the most secure and sustainable democracy of the world which Sardar Patel performed with excellence.

The onus is on us now that we keep this diversified land united. He united the land and it is our responsibility to remain united. India has seen a lot of intolerance in the recent past. Let us pledge to be tolerant and contribute towards the development of the country instead of getting involved in communal and antinational activities which would eventually lead to the disintegration of India.

Reference: The Times Of India

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