Eight years after proposing the ambitious project, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today, unveiled the Statue of Unity – the world’s tallest statue at 182 metres -built in honour of freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. 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.
PM Modi also did a virtual “abhishek” of the statue with the help of a lever. Also present at the venue are BJP chief Amit Shah, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy CM Nitinbhai Patel. The guests were also presented with mementoes that were made of the same metal that was used to clad the statue. Just like Patel’s idol, the mementoes will not age for the next 100 years.
The prime minister performed a special prayer at the feet of the Statue of Unity and visit the museum and exhibition, and the viewers’ gallery. 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.
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, Modi said that 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.
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.”
Modi said that 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, he added.