File photo of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
Sardar Patel's birth anniversary is being celebrated across the country as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was both the architect and unifier of modern India but his "monumental contribution" had not got proper recognition.
Patel was a selfless leader who shaped India's destiny with single-minded devotion, the vice president said at an event to commemorate the 142nd birth anniversary of India's first home minister at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library here.
"It is unfortunate that there has been no proper recognition of the monumental contribution made by Sardar Patel and his legacy in unifying the country at its most critical juncture in the history," he said.
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Sardar Patel's birth anniversary is being celebrated across the country as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas.
"Sardar Patel, the architect and unifier of modern India, was not only a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi but also his ardent follower. He fashioned the country's political integration with the swiftness of a military commander and deftness of a visionary leader," Naidu said.
Patel displayed the vision of a statesman, the vice president said.
His tact, diplomacy and pragmatic approach prevented the Balkanisation of the country and ensured the merger of more than 560 princely states with the Union of India at a critical and most turbulent period in the history of the country, Naidu said.
"What makes this stupendous integration most remarkable is that it was achieved without any bloodshed," he said.
One of Patel's great contributions, he added, was the creation of the Indian Administrative Service, which was once a 'mission' but had now become a 'commission' for some.
"His vision for a unified India also saw the creation of the All India Administrative Service which he described as a steel frame. It was one of the great contributions he made to the country," the vice president said.
Patel's exhortations to probationers to maintain "utmost impartiality and incorruptibility in administration" were as relevant today as they were then, Naidu said.
"Earlier it was a mission, now some people have turned it into a commission giving remission and committing many omissions."
Naidu, who also inaugurated a two-day national conference and an exhibition on 'Making of a Gandhian Nationalist: Life and Times of Sardar Patel', in the presence of Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, said agriculture had been completely ignored post independence, contrary to Patel?s belief that it was the "basic culture of India".
Agriculture and industry were like our eyes, both needing equal care, but the former had been treated unjustly, the vice president said.
Food security is an important aspect in India, with a population of 130 crore, and agriculture cannot be ignored, he said.
"People are leaving agriculture... A doctor wants his son to be a doctor, a teacher wants his son to be a teacher, a businessman wants his son to be a businessman, an actor wants his son to be an actor, even when the face is not good enough, and then thrusting them upon us, but a farmer does not want his son to be a farmer. This is because agriculture is not remunerative," he said.
In a bid to rectify the situation, the Modi government was focusing on agriculture. "... By 2022, the aim of the government is to double the income of agriculturists."
Patel, who was born on October 31, 1875, passed away on December 15, 1950.
Naidu said the leader led a down to earth life and knew each and every problem of the country. He had clarity and was committed to unity, Naidu said.
"He needs to be remembered by every Indian as the country marches ahead as one of the largest economies in the world..."