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Statue of Unity

  • The Statue of Unity is a colossal statue of Indian statesman and independence activist Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1875–1950) who is highly respected for his leadership in uniting the 562 princely states of India to form the single large Union of India.
  • It is in the state of Gujarat, India.
  • It is the world’s tallest statue with a height of 182 metres (597 ft).
  • It is located on a river island facing the Sardar Sarovar Dam on river Narmada in Kevadiya colony, 100 kilometres (62 mi) southeast of the city of Vadodara.
  • The project was first announced in 2010 and the construction of statue started in October 2013 by Larsen & Toubro, who received the contract for Rs 2,989 crore (US$420 million).
  • It was designed by Indian sculptor Ram V. Sutar and was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister on 31 October 2018, the 143rd anniversary of Patel’s birth.
  • The statue is divided into five zones of which only three are accessible to the public.
  • contains a memorial garden and a museum.
  • reaches up to Patel’s thighs at 149 metres,
  • extends up to the viewing gallery at 153 metres.
  • maintenance area
  • comprises the head and shoulders of the statue.
  • The museum in zone 1 catalogues the life of Sardar Patel and his contributions.
  • An adjoining audio-visual gallery provides a 15-minute presentation on Patel and also describes the tribal culture of the state.
  • The concrete towers which form the statue’s legs contain two elevators each. Each lift can carry 26 people at a time to the viewing gallery in just over 30 seconds. The gallery is located at a height of 153 metres (502 ft) and can hold up to 200 people.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s role in the Indian Freedom Movement

  • In the initial stages of the freedom movement, Patel was neither keen on active politics nor the principles of Mahatma Gandhi. However, the meeting with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in Godhra (1917) fundamentally changed Patel’s life.
  • Patel joined the Congress and became the secretary of the Gujarat Sabha that became a Congress stronghold later.
  • On Gandhi’s call, Patel quit his hard-earned job and joined the movement to fight for exemption of taxes in Kheda at the time of plague and famine (1918).
  • Patel joined Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement (1920) and travelled around West India to recruit 3, 00,000 members. He also collected more than Rs 1.5 million for the party fund.
  • There was a British law banning the hoisting of the Indian Flag. When Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned, it was Patel who led the Satyagraha movement in Nagpur in 1923 against the British law.
  • It was the Bardoli Satyagraha of 1928 which earned Vallabhbhai Patel the title of ‘Sardar’ and made him popular throughout the country. So great was the impact that Pandit Motilal Nehru suggested Vallabhbhai’s name to Gandhiji for the presidency of the Congress.
  • In 1930, British arrested Sardar Patel during the Salt Satyagraha and put him on trial without witnesses.
  • On the outbreak of World War II (1939), Patel supported Nehru’s decision to withdraw the Congress from central and provincial legislatures.
  • Patel was at his persuasive best when he spoke at the Gwalia Tank ground (now called August Kranti Maidan) in Mumbai to launch the nation-wide civil disobedience movement in 1942 at the behest of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • During Quit India Movement (1942), the British arrested Patel. He was imprisoned with the entire Congress Working Committee from 1942 to 1945 at the fort in Ahmednagar.
  • After the signing of the Gandhi–Irwin Pact, Patel was elected president of Congress for its 1931 session (Karachi).
  • Congress committed itself to the defence of fundamental rights and civil liberties. Patel advocated for the establishment of a secular nation. Minimum wages for workers and the abolition of untouchability were among his other priorities.
  • Patel used his position as Congress president to organize the return of confiscated land to farmers in Gujarat.
  • Patel worked extensively against alcohol consumption, untouchability, caste discrimination and for women emancipation in Gujarat and outside.
  • After Independence, he became India’s first Deputy Prime Minister. On the first anniversary of Independence, Patel was appointed as the Home Minister of India. He was also in charge of the States Department and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry
  • As the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India, Patel organized relief efforts for refugees fleeing from Punjab and Delhi and worked to restore peace.
  • In what was to become Sardar Patel’s most lasting legacy, he took charge of the States Department and was responsible for the accession of 565 princely states into the Union of India. Paying tribute to him, Nehru called Sardar ‘the builder and consolidator of new India.’
  • However, the invaluable services of Sardar Patel were available to independent India for just 3 years. The brave son of India died on 15 December 1950 (aged 75), after suffering a massive heart attack.