National Unity Day: Patel, The Man Behind Unified India

In 1947 Patel emerged as the biggest unifier of Bharat following the footsteps of Chanakya, using saam-daam-danda-bheda to unify India against the spectrum of separatist forces.

By Veerendra Kumar, Research Associate, at Rashtram

The concept of Bharat Rashtra [1] is one of the most enduring ideas of human history. It is older than the Roman Empire itself which fragmented into modern European nations millennia later. This conception has been inscribed not only in the texts like Mahabharata, Ramayana, Puranas but also in the hearts and minds of hundreds of crores of people who have lived and thrived in this cradle of civilization. 

The concept of Bharat Rashtra has not been contingent upon the political arrangements and rearrangements which compartmentalized the Indian sub-continent throughout its history. This territorial agnosticism but cultural sovereignty has helped India to develop diverse cultural strands which beautify the Indian subcontinent. But this strength has become our weakness also, especially against the foreign invaders and their domestic collaborators whom we can collectively call Breaking India Forces (refer Rajiv Malhotra for details).

Foreign invasions and domestic treacheries have bled Bharata thousands of cuts in different eras. Such adverse situations have forced our Bharat Rashtra to transcend the boundaries of numerous Rajya dotting the subcontinent and attain the true congruence of both of them. This ultimate true manifestation of Bharat Rashtra is the dream which every stakeholder in the Bharat Rashtra cherishes and aspires to realize. This aspiration also gave birth to concepts like Chakravartin, Hindu Rashtra, Punya Bhoomi and so on.

This collectivization of different rajyas into a single ultimate Rashtra is not a product of coercion, violence or suppression, rather it is a product of assimilation having its roots deeper in history. As Sanjeev Sanyal [2] points out, the very first suktam of the Rig Veda highlights the coming together of the ancient and the new, defeated and the victor and of this world and the divine – to create the ultimate expression which we call Bharat Rashtra.

This spirit of Bharat inspired Chanakya and Chandragupta 2300 years ago to create the Mauryan Empire – one of the greatest empires of India and the world. After that several such re-incarnations in one form or other were attempted by Guptas, Cholas, Mughals, Marathas and later British Raj. 

In 1947, when India was destined to attain independence from the British Raj, the spirit of Bharat Rashtra was again about to attain full manifestation. But it was not that simple. On one hand, there were separatists like Muslim League, Dravida Kzjhagam, Hyderabad State, Jammu and Kashmir State and many others; on the other hand, there were subversive forces within the mainstream like the Communist Party of India [3], Deobandis [4,5], Maulana Abul Kalam Azad [6] (Indian National Congress President and India’s First Education Minister) and many others. On top of that, there were more

than 550 princely states which had their own aspirations and the British Government which was also ready for complete balkanization of India.   

In such an adverse situation, India saw the emergence of Sardar Patel as the unifier of India. Following the footsteps of Chanakya, he used saam-daam-danda-bheda to create as much large India as possible and as much small Pakistan as possible. He used all the tactics in the realpolitik playbook to bring the majority of the princely states in the Indian fold and thwart the designs of the internal subversive forces. This again led to an approximate congruence of the Bharat Rashtra and the Indian Rajya. Like Rig Veda, this congruence is again mentioned in the first Article of the Indian Constitution – ‘India that is Bharat’.

This congruence of the Bharat Rashtra and the Indian Rajya is the basis of unity of India. As long as this congruence exists, India will remain united. Bharat Mata is the divine manifestation of this congruence.

Maintaining and sustaining this congruence is not easy because as Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakanthan have expressed, there are very powerful Breaking India Forces which are hell-bent to disrupt it. The forms of disruptions are many. I am listing a few of them here:

  1. Those who claim that India came into existence because of the Mughals or the British or the Indian Constitution in 1947. They are not at all willing to accept the existence of Bharat Rashtra at all. Among them are the constitutional Patriots for whom Constitution is the new monotheistic sacred text from which Indian Rashtra has originated.
  2. Those who find their monotheistic Rashtra in conflict with Bharat Rashtra, like Islamists who believe in Islamic Ummah and their Christian counterparts. 
  3. Those who believe in internationalism and abhor the idea of Rashtra itself like communists, liberals, globalists and so on.
  4. Those who are regional chauvinists and are supported by all the three above because for them regional chauvinists are useful fodder. 

These disruptive forces are neither new nor the final one. Given the potential of Bharat Rashtra to become a global ‘pole’ in itself, it is obvious that other geopolitical forces would envy India and would tend to disrupt her unity. 

The fight against these disruptive forces is neither easy nor a finite game nor a short-term exercise. It is a battle for civilization which may extend up to centuries or maybe forever. Thus, this is not an easy problem to be ignored or taken lightly.

This problem has been duly identified by our ancestors and has been thoroughly discussed in our shastras. One foundational text addressing this problem is Bhumi Suktam (Atharva Veda) which identifies certain qualities of persons who want to defend the unity of their matribhoomi against her enemies and highlights that the motherland is protected from enemies only till the time the people possess the necessary characteristics. Now an obvious question arises: ‘How can we create such people having desired characteristics who could defend unity of our country like Sardar Patel?’ The answer lies in education. Keeping this in mind, Rashtram is offering several educational programs to create ‘self-aware’ and ‘civilisationally-assured’ public leaders who are nourished by Indic knowledge traditions and systems of thought. 

This initiative is neither the only one nor the last one. This is a journey which will continue as long as we honour the spirit of Sardar Patel and fight for the congruence of Bharat Rashtra and the Indian Rajya. 


  1.  Rashtra is the collective expression of the journey, identity and aspirations of people. Rajya is an arm of Rashtra – meant to protect, sustain and advance its interests in a defined territory. A Rashtra can be fragmented into several rajyas and vice versa.
  2.  Revisiting the Rig Veda – a talk by Sanjeev Sanyal in the Arth Festival 
  5. Deobandis supported Unified India and no Pakistan because they considered such an arrangement was similar to the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah which facilitated Muslims to stay in Mecca, preach Islam and later take over the city and Islamize it.
  6.  Many scholars claim that he also felt that a partitioned India would arouse Hindu nationalism and may dent the idea of Islamizing the whole Indian subcontinent.

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