Context: The President of India paid homage to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary (October 31, 2020). 

More on the news:

  • To commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, the nation is observing 31st October as ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’ or National Unity Day. 
  • It is a day when we reinforce our dedication to preserve and strengthen unity, integrity and security of the nation. 


  • Born on October 31st, 1875 at Nadiad in Gujarat, Sardar Patel was India’s first Home Minister and first Deputy Prime Minister.
  • To him belongs the legacy of merging over 560 princely states into the Union of India. 
  • He is popularly known as the Iron Man of India and made many important contributions to Indian freedom struggle and modern India.

Contribution of Sardar Patel in Indian freedom struggle and modern India:

  • Kheda Satyagraha: In 1918, Vallabhbhai took the responsibility of leading the farmers of Gujarat and demanded the suspension of the revenue collection from farmers as there was a drought.
  • Non-cooperation movement: In 1920, Vallabhbhai gave up his practice and set up the Gujarat Vidyapeeth where children could study instead of attending Government schools.
  • Bardoli satyagraha: In 1928 he successfully organized the landowners of Bardoli against British tax increases and it was after this that Vallabhbhai was given the title of Sardar (Leader).
  • Karachi session: In 1931 he served as President of the Indian National Congress in its Karachi session which changed the nature of movement from a political struggle adding a new socio-economic dimension. 
  • Strategy to struggle: He was part of the No changers faction (within the Congress) and emphasised on the crucial role of constructive work in village regeneration and carrying the message of nationalism to the masses.
  • Negotiations with Britishers: He played a crucial role in the torturous negotiations with the British for freedom and Partition of the country.
  • His views on Partition of India: 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. 
  • Part of constituent assembly to frame the constitution of India: He was instrumental in collecting eminent people across the country and also persuaded Ambedkar to become a member of drafting committee. 
    • Chaired: Patel was the chairman of the committees responsible for minorities, tribal and excluded areas, fundamental rights, and provincial constitutions.
  • Integrating India: In 1947 when India got freedom, he was in charge of Home Affairs, Information and Broadcasting and the Ministry of States. 
    • He was given the task of integrating the 562 Princely States into the union. 
    • He skilfully achieved this and took strong steps like sending the army to Junagadh and Hyderabad to force them to align with free India. 
    • It is because of these strong steps he is called Iron Man of India.
  • Strengthened steel frame of India: 
    • He envisioned a strengthened Civil Service for India’s cohesion and national unity. 
    • He wanted a strong and vibrant federal administrative system in which the All India Services would play an important role. 

The Statue of Unity, the world’s tallest statue, was dedicated to him on 31 October 2018 which is approximately 182 metres (597 ft) in height, as a recognition of building a modern India.

Source: DNA India