By: Harmohan Singh Walia
The 141st Birth Anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was held on 31 October 2016 at the Indian Culture Centre of the Counsul General of India, Sydney.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was born on 31 October 1875. Sardar was one of the founding fathers of the Republic of India. He was an Indian barrister, statesman and social leader who played a leading role in the country’s struggle for independence and guided its integration into a united, independent nation.
He subsequently organised peasants from Kheda, Borsad, and Bardoli in Gujarat in non-violent civil disobedience against oppressive policies imposed by the British Raj; in this role, he became one of the most influential leaders in Gujarat. He was the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India. He organised relief for refugees fleeing from Punjab and Delhi and led efforts to restore peace across the nation. He is usually quoted as “Iron Man of India”, “unifier of India” and affectionately remembered as the “Patron saint of India’s civil servants.” He died on 15 December 1950.
The Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day), was introduced by the Government of India in 2014 and is held annually on his birthday, 31 October.
The Consul General, Mr. B. Vanlal Vawna gave welcome speech and described about the life history of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel with the help of Photo slide show.
Mr. Neville Roach, Chairman of the Advisory Board for Australia and New Zealand of Tata Consultancy Services also highlighted various achievements of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in his speech.
A documentary of 39 minutes was screened titled “Man of Silence – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel”. After this, Shri Rajeev Kumar, Vice Consul of Indian Consulate, Sydney recited a poem on Sardar, which was highly applauded by the audience. Mr. Jaydatt Nayak, President of Gujarat Samaj of NSW highlighted certain facts of the life of Sardar that are commonly not known to the general public. In the end, Mr. Vishwajit and Ms Moumita read a couple of pages from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s book.
Ms Neha Rebello was the Master of Ceremony. Light refreshments were served to the guests.