National Unity Day or Rashtriya Ekta Diwas is celebrated on 31st October every year since 2014 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. This year marks the 144th birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, freedom fighter and later a politician who played a major role in the integration of India.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was India’s first deputy Prime Minister and is popularly known as the ‘Iron Man of India’. He played a major role in persuading over 500 princely states to accede to the independent Indian Union. He integrated all princely states into the newly independent India, despite several hurdles.
In 2014, the official statement from the Home Ministry of India stated that 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.” This year a ‘Run for Unity’ event will be organised in different parts of the country. In Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, CM Yogi Adityanath will flag off the run to encourage Indians to run together.
In Delhi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah will flag off the event. The run begins at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium and around 15,000 participants are likely to have participated. In 2018, the ‘Statue of Unity’ that was sculpted in honour of Sardar Patel was inaugurated in Gujarat. The statue stands at a height of 182 m.
On this day, the following pledge is required to be read out at State and Central government offices.
“I solemnly pledge that I dedicate myself to preserve the unity, integrity and security of the nation and also strive hard to spread this message among my fellow countrymen. I take this pledge in the spirit of unification of my country which was made possible by the vision and actions of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. I also solemnly resolve to make my own contribution to ensure internal security of my country.”