Ever since King Sudasa of the Trtsu-Bharata tribe took the title of 'Chakravartin' after the daśarājná yuddhá (Battle of 10 Kings), the dream of a united Bharatvarsh has stirred the hearts of Indian kings and emperors.
Every monarch has dreamt of himself as the great Varāha, protecting the land encompassing Bharat from the chaos of foreign invasions and sought to unite Bharatvarsh under a single polity. But none of them could realise the description of Bharat in the Vishnu Purana: "The country that lies north of the ocean and south of the snowy mountains is called Bhāratam...”
For millennia, this dream remained unfulfilled until reawakened by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as ‘Hindavi Swarajya’ in modern India and later adopted by the Indian nationalist movement — the dream of a united Bharatvarsh under self-rule.
But it still remained a dream until the opportune moment came and from the ranks of men rose a commoner, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, to seize the moment.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel united the country which many want even now should disintegrate. (Source: Twitter)
Armed with iron will imbued in the best traditions of realpolitik, Patel welded the territories of British India and 562 princely states into a single political entity which were to later become the Republic of India. What he achieved was a feat which surpasses the greatest political triumphs in world history — a largely peaceful unification of India.
What was achieved is the culmination of the aspiration of a people for millennia and will resonate in history yet to come.
What he achieved was so momentous that it is baffling why his legacy was sidelined and why we failed to celebrate its historical significance for so long?
But all that is set to change with the dedication of the world’s largest statue, the Statue of Unity, to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Statue of Unity is not only a fitting tribute to the man who resurrected the Somnath Temple from ruins after centuries of depredation, but is also a reaffirmation of the will of 1.3 billion Indians to resurrect India from centuries of foreign rule.
The statue stands tall and proud, inspiring awe from all those who walk in its shadows, reminding them of the enormity of the task each generation has before it — to preserve the unity and integrity of the country from those who would rather see it disintegrate. This massive feat of engineering instils confidence among the youth that nothing is impossible in ‘New India’.
But there are those who would rather have Patel forgotten.
They have left no stone unturned in branding Patel as a bucolic right-wing communalist who was responsible for the Partition of India, deflecting blame thus from Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
And the same people today are raising objections to the Statue of Unity. These campus communists and regressive leftists have never accepted a united India and seek its disintegration due to their ideological belief that ‘revolution’ would be easier in the smaller entities resulting from fragmentation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the Statue of Unity to the people of the nation. (Source: Twitter)
Read their ‘revolution’ as the recent cold-blooded murder of the DD News cameraman Achyutanand Sahu and two security personnel by the Naxals.
They know that the Indian state created by Sardar Patel is the greatest impediment to their dreams of seeing the red flag fluttering and gun-toting left-wing terrorists swarming Indian cities and storming the seat of power to overthrow the republic. It must be remembered how Patel ruthlessly shattered the violent dreams of the communists in Telangana after the suppression of Islamist violence after the liberation of Hyderabad from the Nizam and Razakars.
The staunch socialists have turned into overnight avid capitalists, doing ‘value for money’ analysis with regard to the Statue of Unity. But make no mistake! They conjure flimsy arguments to criticise the monument because they hate Patel and what he represents — a strong and united Indian state.
Just like those who oppose and ridicule the statue of BR Ambedkar do so not because they are concerned about the ‘waste of resources’ but because they hate what it represents.
Many in India are opposed to the idea that BR Amedkar's statues also represent. (Source: India Today)
Patel’s statue represents the determination of people to live under a united India. The statue of Ambedkar represents the aspiration to build a socially just modern society. Neither is possible without the other.
Social justice is not possible without a strong state that enforces the Constitution and a strong state is not possible without ensuring social justice and integrating all castes and communities in the national project.
The modern Indian state is the only political entity in the history of this land to take a clear stand against the caste system. It’s under this state that subalterns have seen the greatest improvement in their conditions and unprecedented socio-economic mobility. And it has all become possible because of the existence of a united India capable of defending its people from chaos and allowing the healing of a land laid to waste by repeated invasions.
And none of this would have been possible without Patel’s vision and endeavours.
It is impossible to wipe out Sardar Patel's contributions from India's history. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
It is also interesting to note that both Sardar Patel and Dr Ambedkar had determinedly opposed the leftists — and Modi has embarked on a campaign to commemorate them by building monuments and statues dedicated to the two leaders across the country.
The ‘Panchteerth project’ seeks to redevelop Ambedkar’s birthplace in Mhow, the place in London where he stayed while studying in the UK, ‘Deeksha Bhoomi’ in Nagpur, ‘Mahaparinirvan Sthal’ in Delhi and ‘Chaitya Bhoomi’ in Mumbai in addition to the grand Ambedkar International Centre in Delhi.
Those who criticise the statue are also the same who mock Ambedkar’s memorials as a ‘waste of money’. They do so because they fear the spread of alternative ideas of India challenging the left-wing Nehruvian idea of India, which has so far dominated the discourse due to state patronage.