Rashtriya Ekta Diwas, also known as National Unity Day, is celebrated annually on 31 October. The Government of India dedicated the day in 2014 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
This year is celebrating the 147th anniversary of the birth of the freedom fighter. Patel fought for India’s independence from the British and was a longtime member of the Indian National Congress (INC).
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel served as the first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of India after independence. The nation celebrates Rashtriya Ekta Diwas to honor Patel’s efforts to bring the country together.
In the months before and after independence, Patel was instrumental in persuading over 500 princely states to join the union. For this feat, Patel is often compared to the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who was instrumental in the coming together of the German Empires to form the German Empire.
Many history books have claimed that in most of these princely states, governments were run in a non-democratic manner and that the rulers were not ready to give up their democratic rights for the sake of their population.
The rulers of most states had signed a document called the ‘Instrument of Accession’, which meant that their state had agreed to be part of the Union of India. The merger of the princely states of Junagadh, Hyderabad, Kashmir and Manipur, however, proved more difficult than the rest. , the issue of Junagarh was resolved after the people voted they wanted to join the India union.
Sardar Patel, who was India’s deputy prime minister and home minister during this time, played a historic role in negotiating with the rulers of princely states and bringing many of them to form the Indian Union.
The day aims to reflect on how to maintain the unity of the nation. Government representatives as well as members of civil society promote Patel’s importance in Indian history on this day.
In honor of the day, patriotic events are planned in offices and institutions across the country. The unity, integrity and security of the country are also pledged by the employees working in the state and central government organizations.
The Ministry of Home Affairs of India said in an official statement on National Integration Day that the day was established “to provide an opportunity to reaffirm the inherent strength and resilience of our nation in the face of real and potential threats to unity, integrity and security”. It was done for the sake of my country.”