Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was born on 31st October 1875, in Nadiad, a city in Gujarat. He was a successful lawyer and eventually became one of the most influential leaders in Gujarat. In the initial stages of the freedom movement, Patel was not interested in politics but after meeting Mahatma Gandhi in Godhra, Patel joined the Congress.
When Gandhi was in prison, Patel was asked by Members of Congress to lead the satyagraha against a law banning the raising of the Indian flag. Patel organised thousands of volunteers from all over the country and finally negotiated a settlement to obtain the the release of all prisoners and allowing nationalists to hoist the flag in public.
Patel played a very important role in the country’s independence and helped in the unification of over 550 self-governing princely states into a united, independent Indian Union. This is why his birthday is celebrated as the National Unity Day aka Rashtriya Ekta Diwas.
During Congress elections in 1946, 13 out of 16 States chose Sardar Patel as their president, who was the more popular candidate and would have eventually become the first Prime Minister of independent India. But after Mahatma Gandhi’s request, he stepped down as a candidate and promoted Jawaharlal Nehru instead. He became India’s first Deputy Prime Minister and India’s first Home Minister.
Vallabhbhai Patel was one of the first Congress leaders to accept the partition of India as a solution to the rising Muslim separatist movement led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. After the Independence of India from British Raj, during the Indo-Pakistani War in 1947 was held in which Sardar Patel acted Supreme Commander-in-chief of the Indian army.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1991.
Statue of Unity, in memory of Sardar Patel
The Statue of Unity is built in memory Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on October 31, 2018, i.e 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.
Facts about the Statue:
- As Gujarat chief minister, Narendra Modi had announced the project.
- The statue is 182 metre, almost double Statue of Liberty (93 meters tall) in the USA and currently the world’s tallest statue.
- The overall cost of the statue is around Rs 3,000 crores.
- It is located on the Sadhu Bet island, on the Narmada river, between the Satpura and the Vindhya mountain ranges.
- A 3.5 km highway will be used to connect the statue to Gujarat’s Kevadia town.
- The statue has been designed by Padma Bhushan-winning sculptor Ram V Sutar.
- The statue was built by Larsen and Toubro and the state-run Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd.
- The statue could withstand wind velocity up to 60 m/s, vibration and earthquakes.
- It took 33 months and over 300 engineers and 3,400 workers to complete the project.
- The construction of the statue required 1,700 tonnes of bronze, 1,850 tonnes of the bronze cladding.
- There is a viewing gallery for the statue, at 153 metres which can accommodate 200 people at a time. The view of the Sardar Sarovar Dam situated 3.32 km from the statue can be enjoyed.
- Intricate bronze cladding work was done by a Chinese foundry, the Jiangxi Toqine Company (JTQ). The panels were cast in a foundry in China after an international bidding process since there was no such facility in India that could make panels.
- It was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on October 31st, 2018.