Flagging off the "Run For Unity" on the occasion of Sardar Patel Jayanti, the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today recalled the mantra of "Ek Bharat: Shresth Bharat" and said that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel gave us "Ek Bharat" (United India), and we should all work towards creating "Shresth Bharat" (Foremost India). He was addressing a large gathering of youth and people from all walks of life, at Rajpath in New Delhi.
The Prime Minister referred to Sardar Patel Jayanti as an inspirational moment, and said a country that forgets history, cannot create history. He said India`s glorious heritage will always be an inspiration for its aspirational youth. He reminded the people that India`s rich heritage can never be divided on ideological lines. He remembered former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi, noting that today was her death anniversary.
Mentioning Sardar Patel`s unique contribution to the freedom struggle, the Prime Minister drew a comparison of the Sardar`s relationship with Mahatma Gandhi, to the relationship between Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Paramahansa. The Prime Minister also spoke of Chanakya`s vision of a united India, and said the Sardar had, through his strategic foresight, converted that dream into reality.
On India`s unity in diversity, the Prime Minister said this diversity gives us strength. He said India`s people should always be vigilant to guard this unique strength of unity in diversity. He regretted that thirty years ago, India`s fabric of unity in diversity had been attacked, as one specific community had been targeted.
The Prime Minister administered the pledge of unity to the assembled people and later flagged off the Run For Unity. Even as he exhorted people to begin the run, the assembled youth enthusiastically waited for the Prime Minister to lead the run. Eventually, the Prime Minister led the Run For Unity.
Union Ministers Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Shri Venkaiah Naidu and Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, and Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Shri Najeeb Jung were present on the occasion.
Earlier, the Prime Minister paid floral tributes at the statue of Sardar Patel, at Patel Chowk on Parliament Street.
Sidelights – Run For Unity Event at Rajpath, New Delhi
• PM's arrival was greeted with slogans and cheers. 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' resounded everywhere.
• PM led the chant of 'Sardar Patel amar rahe' before addressing the gathering.
• PM dwelled at length on the unbreakable bond between Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel in his speech.
• Run for Unity was flagged off by the PM. The enthusiastic crowd competed with each other to participate. PM came down from the stage to be among the people. PM also ran some distance to encourage the participants. People kept on pouring in the run long after he left.
• Youth and children formed the most enthusiastic contingent among the runners.
• Sports personalities including Olympics, Asiad and Commonwealth medal winners and cricketers drew huge applause from the crowd.
• Illustrating India's Unity in Diversity, the Prime Minister said:
भाषा अनेक, भाव एक… राज्य अनेक, राष्ट्र एक… पंथ अनेक, लक्ष्य एक… बोली अनेक, स्वर एक… रंग अनेक, तिरंगा एक… समाज अनेक, भारत एक… रिवाज अनेक, संस्कार एक… कार्य अनेक, संकल्प एक… राह अनेक, मंज़िल एक… चेहरे अनेक, मुस्कान एक…