By Roli S
I have forgotten the number of times I have written essays on the topic, ’Unity In Diversity of India’ and taken part in the debates, ‘India’s Diversity a Boon or a Curse’ and listened to speeches on ‘United India’ despite its diversity, etc., during my growing up years. Each time I have taken part in such activities, I have been strengthened in my belief that we as a nation are unique and tolerant towards each other despite our innumerable differences. The religions practiced by people are different, languages are different, historically, even our roots are different. Our food habits, our clothes, rituals, ceremonies, lifestyles and so many other things are different from each other and still we stand as one nation, ‘India’.
As time passed by, this has been the main takeaway from my surroundings and background. We are different but we are not divided. In spite of the politics, in spite of the hate mongers, in spite of the misinterpretations and delusions, I have accepted the fact that people of this nation stand united and as one. And the term ‘Unity’ has a decisive bearing on my personality. I believe that people of India are each other’s harvest; each other’s business; each other’s magnitude and connection. When spiders unite, they can tie down a lion.
The “National Unity Day” that is celebrated on 31 October is a day of significance. Not only because it promotes and celebrates the unity of this great nation and its people, but also because it is celebrated in the memory of one of the greatest unifiers of this nation – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who played a significant role in merging and consolidating 565 princely states and making India one united nation.
As a student, when I was learning about India’s Freedom Movement and formation of India as one nation, many times the name of the great Sardar Patel used to crop up as someone who was confident, decisive, and visionary. His commitment to national integration in the newly independent country was total and uncompromising, that earned him the sobriquet “Iron Man of India”.
For an exclusive and matchless country like India, ‘National Unity’ is a very vital and high-priority demand and to be able to celebrate it and proclaim it on 31 October is an honour for every Indian. As Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore said, “If God had so wished, he would have made all Indians speak with one language, but the ‘Unity of India’ has been and shall always be a unity in diversity.”
So, by just paying my tribute to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as a person and visionary, not belonging to any political party, but as someone who wanted to see a unified nation, being born amidst great antagonism and conflict, not losing his sense of humour, I would like to remember his words, “Work is undoubtedly worship but laughter is life. Anyone who takes life too seriously must prepare himself for a miserable existence. Anyone who greets joys and sorrows with equal facility can really get the best of life.”
With the hope that every Indian’s belief in the Unity of the Nation will be as formidable and massive as the statue of the great “Iron Man of India”, I wish and pray for a unified nation that positions itself as an exemplar in this widely diversified world, in the days to come.
(Roli S is an Educator, Teacher Trainer, Author and School Reviewer based in Mumbai)