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Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel - Inspiration to many, tribute to the Iron Man of India

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

We all must have known that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the one whose vision was to integrate the people in the country irrespective of people’s caste, ethnicity, gender, or religion. He was the one who made sure that almost all small 565 Riyasat during 1940s get integrated in India. On October 31, we celebrate the birth anniversary of the great leader.

He is such a great leader that we can write books on him, but this is a short tribute to him covering the highlights.

Let's know about the highlights of his life and major events in the making of the Iron Man of India.

Early life of Sardar Patel (SP)

He was born on 31 October 1875 in Nadiad, Gujarat which was then called Bombay. Also, another interesting thing here is that October 31 is not the official date known but the date that SP entered in his matriculation examinations, which can be the actual right date or maybe not. Now this date is observed as National Unity Day or the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas. He was born in a landowning family of the Leva Patidar Caste. His primary school was at Karamasad and high school at Petlad and practised law at Godhra, Borsad, and Anand in Gujarat, after passing the bar examination.

Sardar Patel said, Two ways of building character – cultivating the strength to challenge oppression, and tolerate the resultant hardships that give rise to courage and awareness.

Later SP went to England to study law, it is said that once before he went to England his brother actually went because the ticket came on the name of Vithalbhai Patel also having same name initials. But then in 1910, he went to England and enrolled at the Middle Temple Inn in London. After coming back, he had a very successful career in Ahmedabad as a barrister. Even before going to England, he had office in Godhra.

Also, his wife Jhaverba was hospitalized in Bombay in 1909 to undergo a major surgery for cancer but her health worsened and unfortunately, she died quite early after which SP went to England.

How he became part of Indian National Movement

It is said that Patel used to present his cases in a very precise and superior manner and was known for his smart and English style clothes.

It's quite interesting that until 1917 he didn't have any close political association or political activeness but when he met Mahatma Gandhi, it changed his life because of the impact and influence he had after meeting Gandhi ji. In 1917 he delivered his first speech and urged the people of country to sign petition of Swaraj from Britain by Gandhi ji.

It was on Gandhi's encouragement, Patel became the secretary of the Gujarat Sabha, a public body that would become the Gujarati arm of the Indian National Congress later.

It was on Gandhi ji's call, Patel quit his hard-earned job and joined the movement to fight for exemption of taxes in Kheda at the time of plague and famine in 1918. Despite the famine the British were levying heavy taxes on the peasants there.

Sardar Patel once said, Remain united. March forward in all humility, but fully awake to the situation you face, demanding your rights and firmness.

Role in Indian National Movement

SP also joined the non-cooperation movement and promoted the case of national movement heavily and supported Gandhi ji all through. Despite his influence of Gandhi ji he also disagreed with him on the universal approach of Gandhi ji where he was of the view that India is not ready for that kind of morality against the British, and it is not practical to opt for those moral solutions considering the political, economic and social landscape in India at that time.

He earned the name of Sardar during the Bardoli Satyagraha- due to his efficient leadership. Bardoli Satyagraha was against the heavy taxes by the British on the peasants. Also, it was Patel who led the Satyagraha movement in Nagpur in 1923 against British law of ban on hoisting Tiranga while Gandhi ji was put in Jail by the British.

Faith is of no evil in absence of strength. Faith and strength, both are essential to accomplish any great work.

He was arrested in 1930 during the Salt Satyagraha that too without any witness. Patel was elected president of Congress for its 1931 session in Karachi. It was under his chairmanship the "Fundamental Rights and Economic Policy" resolution was passed by the Congress in 1931. Patel participated in Civil disobedience movement and gave highly renound speech at Gowalia tank ground in Mumbai to launch the nationwide movement in 1942. He was imprisoned again during the quit India movement and was imprisoned with the entire Congress Working Committee from 1942 to 1945 at the fort in Ahmednagar.

After Independence

He was India’s first Deputy Prime Minister and was appointed as the Home Minister of India at the first anniversary of Independence. The chaos that emerged due to partition was handled by SP whether it is the refugees coming from Punjab and Bengal or to restore peace.

He took charge of the States Department and was responsible for the accession of 565 princely states into the Union of India. Paying tribute to him, Nehru called Sardar ‘the builder and consolidator of new India.’

States like Travancore, Hyderabad, Junagadh, Bhopal and Kashmir were hesitant on joining India it was SP who worked tirelessly to build a consensus with the princely states.

Patel believed that, India needed a steel frame to run its civil, military, and administrative bureaucracy. His faith in institutional mechanisms like having an organized command-based army and a systemized bureaucracy.

Later today we see Narendra Modi built the world tallest statue, that is the statue of Unity as a tribute to India's Iron Man in Gujarat.

stay tuned for more.

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