Statue of Unity Inauguration HIGHLIGHTS: Eight years after proposing the ambitious project, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday unveiled the Statue of Unity – the world’s tallest statue at 182 metres -built in honour of freedom fighter and India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The statue stands on Sadhu island on the Narmada in Gujarat and is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US.
At 182 metre, the statue is 23 metre taller than China’s Spring Temple Buddha statue and almost double the height of the Statue of Liberty (93 metre tall) in US.
Located on the Sadhu Bet island, near Rajpipla on the Narmada river, the Statue of Unity is located between the Satpura and the Vindhya mountain ranges.
The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), a special purpose vehicle set up by Modi in 2011, arranged some 129 tonnes of iron implements from nearly 100 million farmers in 169,000 villages across all states to construct the base of the statue in the ‘Loha’ campaign.
The Statue of Unity was brought to fruition by Padma Bhushan-winning sculptor Ram V Sutar and intricate bronze cladding work was done by a Chinese foundry, the Jiangxi Toqine Company (JTQ).
About Sardar Vallabhai Patel:
Sardar Patel is credited with uniting all 562 princely states in pre-independent India to build the Republic of India — hence the name of the statue. The date for the inauguration of the statue (October 31, 2018) also marks the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.
In 1917, Sardar Vallabhbhai was elected as the Secretary of the Gujarat Sabha, the Gujarat wing of the Indian National Congress. In 1918, he led a massive “No Tax Campaign” that urged the farmers not to pay taxes after the British insisted on tax after the floods in Kaira. The peaceful movement forced the British authorities to return the land taken away from the farmers. His effort to bring together the farmers of his area brought him the title of ‘Sardar’.
He actively supported the non-cooperation Movement launched by Gandhi. Patel toured the nation with him, recruited 300,000 members and helped collect over Rs. 1.5 million.
In 1928, the farmers of Bardoli again faced a problem of “tax-hike”. After prolonged summons, when the farmers refused to pay the extra tax, the government seized their lands in retaliation. The agitation took on for more than six months. After several rounds of negotiations by Patel, the lands were returned to farmers after a deal was struck between the government and farmers’ representatives.
In 1930, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was among the leaders imprisoned for participating in the famous Salt Satyagraha movement initiated by Mahatma Gandhi.
Sardar Patel was freed in 1931, following an agreement signed between Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of India. The treaty was popularly known as the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. The same year, Patel was elected as the President of Indian National Congress in its Karachi session where the party deliberated its future path.
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