The Statue of Unity in India is a latest addition into the list of significant constructions of India. This statue is a tribute paid to the unforgettable leader in the Indian history – Shri Sardar Vallabh bhai Patel. In this post, we will learn more about him and interesting facts about the statue of unity.
Who is Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel?
Born in Nadiad district in Gujarat, Vallabh Bhai Patel was the first Home Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister of India. He was an accomplished barrister. India recognizes him as a freedom fighter and a great leader who united the people and the states and gave this country a shape.
Why was Vallabhai Patel called Iron Man of India?
Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, the Iron Man of India, was a man of valor and integrity. With his strong leadership skills and influential persona, he integrated the people of the country to throw off the shackles of slavery and gain independence. He was the key unifier of the masses and always served as a strong voice for the underprivileged people in the face of the ruthless era of British rule.
Vallabh Bhai Patel shared a significant contribution to the creation of All India Services. His unshakable discipline and honest vision towards a truthful and corruption-free service for the betterment of the country gained him the title “Patron Saint of India’ Civil Servants”.
Why was Vallabhai Patel called Sardar?
Vallabh Bhai Patel was given the title of “Sardar” due to his passionate commitment to the galvanization of countrymen during the most challenging times of the British era.
Role of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel in the Independence of India
Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel was a fervent supporter of Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of non-violence. He made a great contribution to the upliftment of villagers of Gujrat that gained him wide recognition as a national leader. Satyagraha Movement of Bardoli, a massive revolt by the farmers of Bardoli district of Gujarat, was efficiently led by Vallabh Bhai Patel.
Bardoli Satyagraha and Sardar Vallabh bhai Patel
In 1925, the Bardoli district of Gujarat was hit by a devastating famine that destroyed crops and farmlands. In those tough situations, the Bombay residency imposed a heavy tax hike of around 22-30% on the villagers. The civic authorities and farmers of Bardoli passed petitions to plead the Government to withdraw the heavy tax imposition.
However, despite all their efforts, the Bombay Presidency did not agree to come to any terms with them. The local Congress party analyzed the grave situation and published a report, mentioning the inefficacy of poor peasants to pay the taxes. However, the government denied the withdrawal of the tax hike and continued with its decision.
In 1928, the farmers of Bardoli sought the assistance of Sardar Patel to support them in their struggle. Vallabh Bhai Patel organized a huge movement in which thousands of villagers, both men, and women, participated with a resolution to resist the ruthless tax imposition.
Sardar Patel made the villagers take solemn vows to strictly abide by their resolution of disobedience towards the government. Despite the intense mass protests and rigorous campaigning, the Government denied withdrawing the tax imposition.
Sardar Patel had cautioned the villagers of Bardoli about the potential difficulties and unwelcoming consequences of the movement such as confiscation of wealth, properties, and abduction of cattle. The government sent Pathans to seize the lands of farmers. The farmers concealed their cattle in the storerooms to prevent them from abduction. They also boycotted those villagers who broke their promises not to pay the tax.
Many members of Bombay Legislative Councils expressed their anguish towards the ill-treatment of the poor peasants of Bardoli by the Government. Many officials resigned from their positions and came forward in support of farmers.
Eventually, the Bombay Residency acceded to the demands of Bardoli farmers and formed Maxwell-Broomfield Commission to examine the issue. The tax rate was decreased to 6%. This monumental achievement won Sardar Patel nation-wide acclaim and admiration. This movement itself gained him the title of “Sardar” by the women of Bardoli.
Role of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel in the integration of India
When the country was on the verge of gaining independence, it feared the segregation of the princely states that were under the British dominion. The Congress recognized that Patel was the most considerable and genuine leader to undertake this colossal task of integrating the princely states under independent India.
Patel designated V. P. Menon, a senior civil servant, as the Chief Secretary of the States Ministry to provide his helping hand in accomplishing the enormous goal of unifying the princely states.
According to the 3rd June 1947 plan, the 565 princely states were asked to select the dominion of either India or Pakistan or go for an independent Indian state. In such a scenario, it became very crucial to arouse a feeling of unity and patriotism among the princes of the princely states.
Sardar Patel, through his pragmatic outlook and astute vision, executed the task of persuading the princes in a practical and organized manner. He conducted public meetings and social gatherings to invite the princes to dinner or tea for a formal conversation. Patel also proposed special privileges to be given to their descendants such as privy purses’ in return for their accession to India.
In his generous efforts to convince the princes, Sardar Patel didn’t undermine the importance of exertion. So, he asked the princes of the 565 princely states to give their consent to the accession document by 15th August 1947. Out of 565 princely states, 562 gave their accession except for the states of Kashmir, Hyderabad, and Junagarh.
Statue of Unity
On 31st October 2018, the Government of India had inaugurated the “Statue of Unity”. This is the tallest of the statues of any leader in the world and commemorates his significant contribution to the integration of India.
The majestic Statue of Unity, the tallest statue in the world, is symbolic of Vallabh Bhai Patel’s tremendous contribution to the political and social integration of India.
Facts about Statue of Unity, India
The formidable statue depicts his unshakable confidence, self-discipline, and awe-inspiring disposition. It evokes a feeling of immense respect and honor for the leader in the hearts of people across the world. The statue also confronted many challenges and controversies due to its constructional demands.
Let us discuss some interesting facts about the magnificent Statue of Unity:
The announcement of the establishment of the Statue of Unity was done on 7th October 2013
The ambitious project of the Statue of Unity was proclaimed on 7th October 2013 by the then Chief Minister of Gujarat and present Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi. This was done on the launch of his 10th year as the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVBPRET), a special purpose society was established by the Chief Minister and Gujarat Government to look after the financial undertakings of the project.
A marathon, Run for Unity, was also organized in Vadodara and Surat on 15th December 2013 to bolster the project.
The statue is designed by an Indian sculptor, Ram V. Sutar
The design of the Statue of Unity underwent rigorous and intensive study on the designs of other statues of Patel across India.
A team of academicians, historians, and artists decided to go with the design made by the Indian sculptor and Padma Bhushan recipient, Ram V. Sutar. Ram V. Sutar has also built the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Parliament.
The Statue is an enlarged replica of the statue of Sardar Patel at Ahmedabad International Airport. Three models were proposed for the design of the statue.
The three models measured 3 feet, 18 feet, and 30 feet in size. The largest model was sanctioned by the team.
The statue is designed to withstand earthquakes of 6.5 Richter scale
The constructional requirements of the statue have made the base of the statue thinner than the upper portion. This gave rise to stability issues.
To address the issue, the slenderness ratio of the statue was maintained at 16:19 which is contrary to the traditional ratio of 8:14 of other tall structures.
The statue is designed as such to tolerate the winds with a speed of up to 180 km/hr. The statue can withstand earthquakes of about 6.5 rt scale.
The earthquake can be withstood within a depth of 10 km and a radius of 12 km. This has been made possible with the aid of two 250 tonnes of seismic dampers used in the statue.
The Statue of Unity is the tallest in the world
The height of the majestic Statue of Unity measures 182 m (597 feet). The full height of the statue measures 240 m (790 ft). The base measures 58 m (190 ft). It was decided that the height of the statue should be equal to the number of seats in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly.
The statue surpasses the height of the previous record-holder, the Spring Temple Buddha in China, by 54 meters.
The Statue of Unity is situated on Sadhu Bet island near Narmada dam
The Statue of Unity is perched on Sadhu Bet river island near Rajpipla and faces the Narmada dam. The surroundings of the statue extend to an area of 4.9 acres. The statue is encompassed by a large artificial reservoir with an area of 12 km created by Garudeshwar weir on the Narmada river.
The supervision and construction of the project
The Statue of Unity project was administered by Turner Construction, Michael Graves and Associates, and the Meinhardt Group. The consortium was the project manager of the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa.
The project was completed in 57 months. The planning took 15 months, construction took 40 months, and the consortium transferred the project in 2 months.
The estimated budget of the whole project was 2,063 crores. Narendra Modi laid the foundation of the statue on October 31st, 2013, the 138th birth-anniversary of Vallabh Bhai Patel.
The construction of the statue was undertaken by Larsen & Toubro
On 27th October 2014, the contract of the project was won by Larsen & Toubro, Indian Infrastructure Company. The construction was initiated on 31st October 2014 by L&T.
In the initial stage of the construction, a budget of 1,347 crores was allocated to the main statue. A budget of 235 crores was earmarked for the exhibition hall and convention center.
The budget of 657 crores was earmarked for the maintenance of the statue for 15 years after its completion.
The construction of the Statue of Unity was executed by 3,000 workers and 250 engineers
L&T recruited 3,000 laborers and 250 engineers to execute the construction. It took three-and-half years to complete the statue.
The workers worked in two shifts and were employed from China too. The task of bronze-coating was undertaken by the Chinese company, Jiangxi Toqine Company.
The iron resources for the statue was collected from millions of farmers across India
The Statue of Unity Movement was launched to meet the construction demands of the statue. Under this movement, the iron resources were garnered through donations of farming tools and devices by the farmers across the country.
The movement had been successful in garnering 135 metric tonnes of iron by 2016. With the help of the countrywide campaign, around 5000 metric tonnes of iron were gathered from 6 lakhs villages across India.
Controversies around the project
The Statue of Unity is celebrated across the country as a symbol of unity. However, during its construction, the project was surrounded by controversies and obstacles.
The land that was acquired to build the statue was owned by Adivasis and tribal people. It was a sacred site of Adivasis which was coercively taken by them. It led to the dislocation of many Adivasis.
The project was also criticized for its environmental apathy. The BJP was heavily slammed for promoting economic development over environmental growth and civil rights.
The statue comprises five zones
The Statue of Unity comprises five zones.
- The first zone extends from the base to Patel’s feet and consists of three areas that include an exhibition area, a mezzanine, and a roof. A memorial garden and a museum are also present in the first zone.
- The second zone extends to Patel’s thighs.
- The third zone consists of an Observation desk situated 500 feet from the river bottom. It can carry a load of 200 people in succession and offers a sweeping view of Sardar Sarovar Dam.
- The fourth zone is used for the maintenance of the statue.
- The fifth zone consists of the shoulders and mighty visage of Patel.
Shrestha Bharat Bhavan, a famous luxury hotel is located in the statue’s vicinity
The Shrestha Bharat Bhavan, a famous luxury hotel is situated near the Statue. The hotel gives a panoramic view of the Statue of Unity and its surroundings. It consists of stylish 52 rooms and is known for its hospitality.
The Statue of Unity has a selfie spot
Interestingly, the statue has a beautiful selfie spot where one can click photos and have a fascinating view of the statue.
Valley of Flowers is in the vicinity of the statue
The flower garden known as Valley of Flowers is situated near the statue in the Kevadiya colony. The garden offers more than 100 varieties of flowers.
The Statue of Unity was inaugurated on 31st October 2018 by Shri Narendra Modi
The inauguration of the Statue of Unity was done on 31st October 2018, the 143rd birth anniversary of Vallabh Bhai Patel. The inauguration was done by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.