Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his radio address to the nation Sunday, evoked the legacy of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and credited him with uniting India after partition. It was his timely intervention which helped save Jammu and Kashmir from ‘aggression’, PM Modi said. The prime minister appealed to the citizens, especially the youth, to participate in large numbers in the ‘Run for Unity’ being organised on October 31 to mark the birth anniversary of Patel.
In his monthly radio programme, Mann Ki Baat, PM Modi said, “If we are able to see a united India now, it was entirely on account of the sagacity and strategic wisdom of Sardar Patel.”
He said this year, October 31 will be more special as the ‘Statue of Unity’, erected on the banks of the River Narmada in Gujarat, will be dedicated to the ‘Iron Man of India’. The structure, he said, is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US. “This is the world’s tallest statue. Every Indian will now be proud to see the world’s tallest statue here on Indian soil. Sardar Patel, a true son of the soil will adorn our skies too,” he said.
The Prime Minister also paid tributes to late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary, also on October 31. “October 31 also is the death anniversary of our former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Our respectful tributes to Indira ji too,” he said.
Explaining the reason behind observing ‘Infantry Day’ every year on October 27, the prime minister said the first Indian soldiers had set their foot in Jammu and Kashmir to take on intruders from Pakistan on this day.
Recalling the January 1947 Time magazine edition, he said Patel has been profiled and described as a person who possessed the capability to unite the country and ‘heal wounds’. He further said that Mahatma Gandhi also considered Patel as the only one capable of finding a lasting solution to the vexed issue of the states and asked him to act.
“Sardar Patel formulated solutions one by one, weaving the warp and weft of unity on the axis of a single thread. He ensured the merger of all princely states with the Dominion of India. Whether Junagadh, Hyderabad, Travancore, or for that matter the princely states of Rajasthan, if we are able to see a united India now, it was entirely on account of the sagacity and strategic wisdom of Sardar Patel,” Modi said.
In his address, the prime minister praised the para-athletes, who had represented India in the Asian Para Games recently and said that their spirit to overcome challenges is inspirational. He also evoked India’s ‘golden history’ in hockey and said that the nation has contributed largely to the sport by giving a number of talented players like Dhyanchand, Balvinder Singh Sr, Dhanraj Pillai among others.
“India has a golden history in Hockey. In the past, we have won several gold medals and also won the World Cup once. India has given some great hockey players to the world,” PM Modi said.
Praising the tribal communities for their contribution to environmental conservation, the PM said, “The Adivasi community believes in peaceful co-existence but when they find the natural resources under threat, they are not scared to fight for their rights. It is not surprising that our very first freedom fighters were from the tribal communities.”
The prime minister also touched upon the issue of organic farming and appreciated northeast India’s initiatives in the field. “The northeast has immense natural beauty and the people here are extremely talented. This is one region, where organic farming has made progress. A few days earlier, Sikkim won the prestigious Future Policy Gold Award 2018, for promoting sustainable food system in the state. This award is given by Food and Agriculture Organisation, which comes the UN,” the PM said.