About 70 members of the Jamaican Indian community joined thousands around the world in a unity march on Sunday, commemorating the 147th birth anniversary of India’s iron man , Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Patel, India’s first independent Deputy Prime Minister, was born on October 31, 1875 and died on December 15, 1950.
He was one of the leaders of the Indian National Congress during India’s independence struggle.
India gained independence in August 1947 and the Indian government introduced Unity Day in 2014.
The 4.5km walk started at India House located at 2 East Kings House Road, then left onto Hope Road, left at Liguanea Avenue onto Paddington Terrace and back to India House.
After the walk, participants enjoyed a traditional Indian breakfast and started a badminton tournament on the grounds of India House, which will continue over the next few weeks.
Indian High Commissioner to Jamaica Masakui Rungsung said the gleaner that Patel was responsible for uniting over 500 princely states of the country to build the Republic of India.
“In India today, we have 29 states. As a tribute to his contribution to the unification of India as a nation, we have erected a statue in his honor. We have created many installations around the statue and it is becoming a popular tourist destination for domestic travelers and of course international travelers,” he said.
The tallest statue in the world, the Statue of Unity enjoys a scenic location facing the Sardar Sarovar Dam and the hills of Satpura and Vindhyachal in Gujarat, India.
At 182 meters tall, it is visible from space and is almost twice the height of the United States Statue of Liberty, which is the fourth tallest in the world.
Rungsung shared that despite India’s diversity – ethnicity and language – as a nation, they have proven that they can stick together wherever they are in the world.
The high commissioner said he expected a bigger turnout, but thanked members of the Indian community who showed up at 6:30 a.m. for the march.
He encouraged others to join next Sunday and in the weeks to come as spectators or participants in the badminton tournament.