National Unity Day
Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day) was introduced by the Government of India and inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. The intent is to pay tribute to Vallabhbhai Patel, who was instrumental in keeping India united. It is to be celebrated on 31 October every year as annual commemoration of the birthday of the Iron Man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the founding leaders of Republic of India. The official statement for Rashtriya Ekta Diwas by the Home Ministry of India cites that the 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.
National Unity Day celebrates the birthday of Patel because, during his term as Home Minister of India, he is credited for the integration of over 550 independent princely states into India from 1947-49 by Independence Act (1947). He is known as the “Bismarck[a] of India”.
The celebration is complemented with the speech of Prime Minister of India followed by the “Run for Unity”.
The theme for 2016 celebrations was “Integration of India”.