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PM Modi unveils ‘Statue of Unity’ – built in honour of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday unveiled the Statue of Unity – the world’s tallest statue at 182 metres -built in honour of freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. PM Modi performed a virtual “abhishek” of the statue with the help of a lever. Notably, the statue stands on Sadhu island on the Narmada in Gujarat and is said to be twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US.

He also performed a special prayer at the feet of the Statue of Unity and visited the museum and exhibition, and the viewers’ gallery. It is to be noted that the gallery, at 153 metres, can accommodate up to 200 people at a time and offers a spectacular view of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, its reservoir, and the Satpura and Vindhya mountain ranges.

While addressing the gathering, PM Modi firstly paid rich tribute to the ‘Iron man of India’. PM Modi said, “Today the entire country is celebrating Rashtriya Ekta Divas to mark the birth anniversary of Patel. The youth is participating in the Run for Unity. I would like to congratulate them all. The patriotism is the foundation on which our culture is built.”

“Today is a day that will be remembered in the history of India. No Indian will ever forget this day. Events like today are very very important in a country’s history and such events are difficult to erase. It is a historic and inspiring occasion for all Indians. It is Patel’s efforts that have led our country to what it is today. It is my honour that I got a chance to pay the tribute to the great man. When I visualised the project, I had never thought that I would unveil it as the prime minister of the country. The event portrays the face of united India. I also thank the people of Gujarat for welcoming him,” PM Modi added.

The Prime Minister further said, “In order to build the Statue of Unity, lakhs of farmers from all over India came together, gave their tools, portions of the soil and thus, a mass movement developed. Today’s event is an inspiration to the future citizens of the country.”

“Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was responsible for us living in a united India today. Due to his efforts after Independence, India is what it is today. It is this feeling of being united, of togetherness, that has kept India going for thousands of years. We celebrate him and his tremendous contribution for the country. I was given the first piece of iron that was contributed for this marvel. I am giving it for you all to see at the museum here at the Statue of Unity,” said PM Modi.

Recounting Patel’s address, PM Modi said, “Sardar Patel in his speech on July 5, 1947, said – ‘Our mutual quarrels, mutual animosity in front of our enemies is the big reason behind our defeat.’ Now we don’t have to repeat this mistake and neither have to be a slave to anyone again. We should never forget his sacrifices. This is the tallest statue in the world. People across the world will visit this site and remember it. They will also remember the great people of India.”

“There were many who thought that a diverse country like India can never remain united. They considered our diversity our biggest weakness. But Sardar Patel converted this into our biggest strength. India is following the path shown by Patel and is moving towards becoming the world’s greatest economic and strategic power,” PM Modi asserted.

Crediting Sardar Patel for keeping the country united, PM Modi said, “It is because of him that we are able to go from Kutch to Kohima, from Kargil to Kanyakumari easily. Without his efforts, we would have to take visa to go to Gir forests, Somnath Temple and to see Charminar in Hyderabad. If the Sardar had no resolution, a direct train from Kashmir to Kanyakumari could not be envisaged. Without Patel, it would have been difficult for us to build the administrative framework like the Civil service. He is also responsible for bringing women in politics.”

Launching an attack on those opposing the Statue of Unity, PM Modi says he is amazed that protesters are giving it a political colour. “The statue is a symbol of country’s respect to this great man. Praising great icons like Patel has also brought us criticism. It seems like we have committed a big crime,” he said.

“The statue is an answer to all those who question the existence and integrity of India. The height of the statue is to remind the youth that the future of the country will be as huge as this. It is also symbolic of our engineering and technology affordability. Every day, the artisans have worked on the project round-the-clock. Just like the millions of others, even I aspired that the man who did so much for India should get the respect that he deserves,” PM Modi noted.

In the end, PM Modi said, “Statue of Unity is a symbol of India’s integrity, India’s resolve, India’s determination and India’s unity… It shows that India was, is and always will be eternal. It is a symbol that ‘Ek Bharat is Shreshth Bharat’.”

“The contribution of the tribals, farmers and villagers, who helped make the Statue of Unity cannot be ignored. By lending your efforts in building this, you have also scripted your names in the history. The state will bring prosperity to the tribals, farmers and villagers in this region. It will lead to job creation, better the livelihoods and promote tourism in the area,” PM Modi concluded.

BJP President Amit Shah, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy CM Nitin Patel, and Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel also graced the event.

Importantly, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was born on this day in 1875.

Lesser known facts about the Statue of Unity:

  • Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s statue now takes the top spot in the list of world’s tallest statues, taking the top spot from the 128 metre tall Buddha statue built in Spring Temple, China.
  • Statue of Unity was designed by Padma Bhushan-winning sculptor Ram V Sutar and built by construction firm Larsen and Toubro and the state-run Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL).
  • It was built at an estimated cost of Rs 2,989 crore.
  • It is twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty in New York.
  • The panels of the Statue of Unity were cast in a foundry in China.
  • Iron was collected from all over the country for the statue of Sardar Patel
  • A museum dedicated to Sardar Patel, at the base of the structure, will have 40,000 documents, 2,000 pictures and a research centre dedicated to Sardar Patel.
  • Built on an island in the Narmada, which runs in a rift valley between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges — the statue is in a region which is famous for its hardwood forests and sanctuaries.

Also Read: Nation pays solemn tributes to ‘Loh Purush’ Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 143rd birth anniversary