Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on Monday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking forward Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s vision of ‘One India (Ek Bharat)’ with ‘Shreshta Bharat (India the best)’, adding imagine an India fragmented into hundreds of princely states had Patel not been there.
“In the past, only one family was promoted in a way as if the entire freedom struggle was fought by them, but history is witness that wherever they intervened that area couldn’t become a part of India in real terms,” he said while delivering the Sardar Patel Memorial Lecture that was aired on the All India Radio (AIR).
Touching upon first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s role in the accession of Jammu & Kashmir to India, Thakur said, “The country remembers Patel for integration… Jammu & Kashmir’s responsibility was taken by Nehru. Article 370 has been a huge obstacle in the integration of J&K… by abrogating Article 370 and ending Article 35A, the Modi government has realised Patel’s dream.”
The I&B Minister said that Patel was a visionary and it was unfortunate that he didn’t get enough opportunities to take the country forward after Independence. “Leaders of the time committed some blunders with respect to China… Patel could anticipate the impending threat from China. In a letter to Nehru on November 7, 1948, he had said, ‘the government of China is trying to mislead us by declaring their peaceful intent. It’s sad that we have let Tibetans down, who reposed their faith in us’,” Thakur said. “history is witness to the fact that Patel’s warnings were ignored, we all know what happened in 1962… But now the situation has changed as the Modi government always keeps Patel’s words in mind and that’s why no one dares India,” he said.
The lecture is organised by the AIR every year — since 1995 — to mark the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, which is now also celebrated as National Unity Day. The subject of this year was — “Powerful India-Proud India: 75 Years of Independence”.
“Sardar Patel was the first I&B Minister of India… it is a privilege that the Prime Minister has given me the responsibility of this ministry,” he said.
Towards the end of the 20-minute lecture, Thakur also spoke about the government’s focus on reviving the country’s spiritual past. “Patel had vowed on November 13, 1947, to reconstruct the Somnath Temple and restore its glory. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leading from the front on this count — from Somnath temple to Kashi Vishwanath corridor project …to Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.”
He also made a mention of the country’s sporting successes in recent years, citing athlete Neeraj Chopra to shuttler P V Sindhu.