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Government to commemorate Sardar Patel’s birthday on October 31 as ‘Rashtriya Ekta Divas’

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New Delhi (Oct 22, 2014): Government of India has decided to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on October 31, as ‘Rashtriya Ekta Divas’ or the National Integration Day. Briefing media persons, after attending an official meeting called by the Governor of Maharashtra in Mumbai today, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar said, government wants to create awareness about the contribution of Sardar Patel during India’s Independence Movement and towards ensuring national integration in India. He said Sardar Patel, who is also known as the iron-man of India was instrumental in merger of princely states, to create a modern India, just after independence. “Celebrating his birth anniversary as national integration day is very appropriate” added the Minister. Union Energy Minister Piyush Goyal, who also attended today’s meeting, said that awareness about Sardar Patel’s contribution is very low, which is very unfortunate. He said, recently he came to know that in the history book of Class X, there is mention of Sardar Patel only once.

The government has decided to make ‘Rashtriya Ekta Divas’ a popular mass movement, inviting participation from all sections of the society. The participation will be voluntary. Giving details of the action plan for the day, Mr. Javadekar said, ‘run for unity’ will be organized at various places, including towns and villages all over the country, on the morning of October 31. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will himself participate in the event and also broadcast a short radio address on the occasion. Mr. Javadekar informed that in the evening, Police and other organizations like NCC, NSS, Scouts and Guides, Home Guards etc would perform a march-past on the streets in all the district headquarters. He said, necessary instructions have been issued to concerned departments. The Minister also informed that details about how people can register for the run, will be communicated through website and advertisements in a day or two.

Vallabhbhai Patel was born on October 31, 1875 at Karamsand in Gujarat. A barrister with a successful law practice, Vallabhbhai Patel joined the Indian National Movement under Mahatma Gandhi and grew up to become one of its tallest leaders. He played key leadership roles in organizing peasants’ movements in Kheda, Borsad and Bardoli in Gujarat and promoting the Quit India Movement against the British Raj.. The credit for the integration of over 500 independent princely states in 1947-49 by their merger from what was then a divided India to make it what it is today is due solely to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.