National Integration Day is observed annually on November 19 in India. The purpose behind celebrating this day is to preserve in the minds of the people, the beauty of unity in diversity in the socio-culturally rich country.
National Integration Day is observed on the birth anniversary of India’s first woman Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to honour her memories and contributions in strengthening India’s democratic structure. This day promotes the message of preserving unity and integrity among the citizens of India, regardless of their cast, colour, language, religion and societal status.
Indira Gandhi was born on November 19, 1917 in the Nehru family in Allahabad. She dropped her ‘Nehru’ surname in 1942 when she married Feroze Gandhi, who was a freedom fighter, politician and journalist. In 1959, she was elected as the president of the Indian National Congress. After her father and India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s death, she became a member of Rajya Sabha and later served as Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the Lal Bahadur Shastri cabinet.
In 1966, after Lal Bahadur Shastri’s demise, Indira Gandhi succeeded him as the Prime Minister. That carved her name in the history of Indian politics as its first woman Prime Minister.
During her tenure, Indira Gandhi focused on working for the country’s development. However, her benchmark achievement is considered to be India’s decisive victory on the battlefield against Pakistan that later led to formation of independent Bangladesh. In 1975, she declared a state of Emergency for India.
On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated at her house in the national capital by two of her bodyguards. To honour her legacy, the citizens of the country started celebrating National Integration Day on her birth anniversary.
National Integration Day doesn’t carry a particular theme every year and rather, propagates the message of unity and integrity among all the citizens in the country. Generally, the celebration continues for almost a week with themes stressing on welfare of the minority, cultural and linguistic harmony. The prime focus that carries on is celebrating unity in diversity.