ne of the most absurd initiatives by PM Narendra Modi is to build the biggest statue of Sardar Patel that will turn world tourism towards India. Sardar Patel was a politician who served as the first Deputy Prime Minister of India. He was an Indian barrister and statesman, a senior leader of the Indian National Congress, and a founding father of the Republic of India that played a leading role in the country’s struggle for independence and guided its integration into a united, independent nation. In India and elsewhere, he was often called Sardar, Chief in Hindi, Urdu, and Persian. He acted as the de facto Commander-in-chief of the Indian Army during the political integration of India and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947.
Patel was born and raised in the countryside of Gujarat. He was a successful lawyer. He subsequently organised peasants from Kheda, Borsad, and Bardoli in Gujarat in non-violent civil disobedience against the British Raj, becoming one of the most influential leaders of the state. He rose to the leadership of the Indian National Congress, organising the party for elections in 1934 and 1937 while promoting the Quit India Movement. He led the task of forging a united India, successfully integrating into the newly independent nation those British colonial provinces that had been “allocated” to India. Besides those provinces that had been under direct British rule, the Indian Independence Act of 1947 had released approximately 565 self-governing princely states from British suzerainty. Threatening military force, Patel persuaded almost every princely state to accede to India. His commitment to national integration in the newly independent country was total and uncompromising, earning him the sobriquet “Iron Man of India”.
He is also remembered as the “patron saint of India’s civil servants” for having established the modern all-India services system. He is also called the “Unifier of India”. On October 31, 2018, Patel was honoured by the dedication of a 182 metre statue of him, called the ‘Statue of Unity’. The world’s tallest statue, it was dedicated on the 143rd anniversary of his birthday, at Kevadiya in Narmada District of Gujarat. It was planned to build the statue in Narmada River near to Sardar Sarovar Dam for giving a nice view to the tourists and make them visit more number of times. The monument along with its surroundings occupies over 20,000 square metres and is surrounded by a 12 square km artificial lake. It is the world’s tallest statue with a height of 182 meters (597 ft). Counting the base below, total height comes to be 240 meters. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), a special purpose vehicle was established by the Government of Gujarat for its construction. Its construction began in October 2013 and completed in mid October 2018.
The project was completed in a time-bound manner with utmost efficiency. More than the PM of India, those who worked hard to create a national monument of international importance are worth appreciating. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was a strong-willed leader who believed that a strong and united India was necessary to fight against the divisive forces. Unfortunately, Maharaja Hari Singh delayed the decision in giving his consent to merge with the Indian union. For that delay, India paid and is still paying a heavy penalty. A great leader Sardar Patel richly deserves all the appreciation. The statue is ideally located and definitely will become one of the most popular tourist spots in Gujarat. Many people are saying, this is a waste of money but it is not, as this makes a great tourist spot and would garner revenue for the local people as well and they can easily make back the money they Spent. Vision and steely determination of Modi to build this statue, truly the world’s tallest.
Let the tourists visit the place and pay obeisance to the Indian leader who should not fade in the memory of Indians. I hope more statues should come in all metropolises. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel — I too genuflect before the undying personality, may all Indians know the true nobilities of Mother India.
The local people opposed land acquisition for the development of tourism infrastructure around the statue. Meanwhile, the entire project made it awkward for BJP; Environmental Activists wrote a letter to the central government contending that the project implementation started without a clearance from the Environment Ministry. People of Kevadiya, Kothi, Waghodia, Limbdi, Navagam, and Gora villages opposed the construction of the statue and demanded the restitution of the land rights over 375 hectares (927 acres) of land acquired earlier for the dam and the formation of Garudeshwar taluka. They also opposed the formation of Kevadiya Area Development Authority (KADA) and the construction of Garudeshwar weir-cum-causeway project. The government of Gujarat accepted their demands.
The Statue of Unity has both arguments in favour and against it. No doubt it will set India apart in the world stage but at the same time, spending such money seems extravagant while India is still struggling to provide the basic needs to its citizen.
(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])