Rashtriya Ekta Diwas or National Unity Day is celebrated annually on October 31 to pay tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, an Indian freedom fighter and independent India’s first deputy prime minister and home minister. He was instrumental in making a united India from the 565 semi-autonomous princely states and British-era colonial provinces. For his efforts towards a united India, Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary is now celebrated as National Unity Day in the country. People mark the day with activities such as runs for unity. On this day, locals are encouraged to remember the inherent strength and resilience of the nation.

History of National Unity Day (Rashtriya Ekta Diwas)

National Unity Day or Rashtriya Ekta Diwas is celebrated on October 31 every year to mark the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The Iron Man of India, also known as the Loh Purush, Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel was born on October 31, 1875. He is also popularly known as Sardar Patel and was one of the most known Indian politicians after Independence when the British withdrew from the deeply divided country. Under Jawarharlal Nehru’s term as Prime Minister, Sardar Patel served as the First Deputy Prime Minister of India.

Sardar Patel is most popularly known as a founding father of the Republic of India. This is because he played a significant role in integrating the independent provinces into a unified India just after the partition of India and Pakistan. He also acted as Home Minister during the political integration of India and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947.

In 2014, Rashtriya Ekta Diwas or National Unity Day was introduced by the government of India. The official statement for Rashtriya Ekta Diwas was provided by the home ministry of the country. It cites that the National Unity Day “will provide an opportunity to re-affirm the inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand the actual and potential threats to the unity, integrity and security of our country.”

For his efforts towards a united India, Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary is now celebrated as National Unity Day. This is also known as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas. To celebrate the day, the ‘Unifier of India’ was honored with the Statue of Unity which is actually the world’s tallest statue! Dedicated to Sardar Patel, the statue is approximately 597 feet in height. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi inaugurated the event on October 31, 2018.

On October 31, 2019, an event called ‘Run for Unity’ was also held to spread awareness about Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s contribution to Indian history. To commemorate his 144th birth anniversary, thousands of people participated in the run which began from the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in Delhi. The almost one-mile run took place at the India Gate C-Hexagon-Shah Jahan Road. Today, Rashtriya Ekta Diwas is remembered as the unsung efforts of the ‘Iron Man’, who shaped the country and the idea of Hindus and Muslims residing in the same country together.

A few important facts about Sardar Vallabhai Patel

  • He was born on 31st October 1875 in Nadiad village of Gujarat.
  • He is known as the iron man of India.
  • He played a significant role in India’s Freedom Struggle.
  • He was India’s first deputy prime minister and home minister.
  • He was given the title of ‘Sardar’ by Mahatma Gandhi and was called ‘Sardar’ by women of Bardoli when he led Bardoli Satyagraha.
  • He is called the founder of modern All India Services.
  • He presided over the Indian National Congress (INC) Session of Karachi in 1931.
  • PM Modi inaugurated the Statue of Unity of Patel on unity day of India 2018, i.e. 31st October 2018.