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 Ek Bharath Shresht Bharath -Humble Tributes to the great Sardar Vallabhai Patel

Ek Bharath Shresht Bharath – Humble Tributes to the great Sardar Vallabhai Patel

We are taught from childhood that the strength of our country is ‘Unity in Diversity’. The diversity is embedded in the countless Indic traditions spread in every corner of our country, the traditions that induce a sense of belongingness of one nation in our hearts. These diverse traditions have been woven together to create a united nation through the efforts of icons throughout our history. If today we stand as one prosperous nation, it is due to them. Today we remember with pride one such name: Loh Purush Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the iconic leader whose sheer political willpower made Ek Bharath Shreshta Bharath possible.
The “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” programme was announced by our respected Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 31 October 2015 on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Patel. Subsequently, the programme was turned into an engagement programme, which will witness pairing of different states at a national level enabling the residents of the respective states to know the knowledge of the culture, traditional practices of each other which will lead to an enhanced understanding and bonding thereby strengthening our unity in diversity. This year Namma Kannada Nadu and Devbhoomi Uttarakhand have been paired under the programme.
However, I would like to remind my fellow Kannadigas that this is not the first time our states have been intertwined. Our Sanatana Dharma has united the two states for centuries as even now the worship in the temples of Madmaheshwar and Kedarnath are carried out by learned priests from Karnataka. I also remember how decades back when Uttarakhand was within Uttar Pradesh, the organic Chipko Andolan inspired Appiko Andolan in the Uttara Kannada district. Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna, a renowned leader of Chipko movement visited the state in 1983 to guide the villagers of Gubbigadde in Uttara Kannada on their efforts to save trees. The guidance given by Shri Bahuguna enabled the villagers to save Kalase forest. The movement created awareness about environmental protection and encouraged afforestation. This was seen in 1984-85 when various concerned residents came forward to plant 12 lakh saplings in Sirsi area. Sensing the sentiments of the general public, the state government had to ban felling of green trees in the forest area.
Though our diverse traditions have kept us together, the importance of political unity cannot be underestimated. This is where the importance of Sardar Patel is observed. It was Sardar Patel who rescued Kashmir from Pakistani invaders, welded together various princely states to make one united India, laid the foundation for the rebuilding of the Somnath Temple and gave the nation a decisive direction to become a republic, all within three years of the country gaining independence. In the words of Bharat Kesri Shyama Prasad Mukherjee : He has been the most valiant champion of India’s freedom and the strongest unifying force in our national life. We from Karnataka are especially indebted to the Loh Purush of India for freeing the Kalyana Karnataka region from the clutches of the brutal Nizam. Today, on the 145th birth anniversary of the Loh Purush, let us remember him with gratitude for all the sacrifices he has made, and do all we can to make his dream of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat come true.

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