Not everyone could have achieved in several lifetimes what he was able to achieve in just one lifetime. He managed to lead as a political leader and was also loved by many. After his death, many officers and the national police force along with the country mourned his death. He was truly loved and his strength of character also shines as he never shied away from handling the financial burdens of his family. He was a great man and deserved the title of “patron saint of India’s civil servants” and the “Iron man of India”, Sardar Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel.
|Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel
31 October 1875
Nadiad, Bombay Presidency, British India
|15 December 1950 (aged 75)
Bombay, Bombay State, India
(m. 1891; died 1909)
|Vithalbhai Patel (brother)
|Indian National Congress
|Bharat Ratna (posthumous, 1991)
Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel (31 October 1875 – 15 December 1950), commonly known as Sardar Patel, was an Indian lawyer, influential political leader, barrister and statesman who served as the first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of India from 1947 to 1950. He was a barrister and a senior leader of the Indian National Congress, who played a significant role in the country’s struggle for independence, guiding its integration into a united, independent nation. In India and elsewhere, he was often called Sardar, literal meaning of which is “Chief” in Hindi,
Urdu, Bengali and Persian. He acted as the Home Minister during the political integration of India and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947.
The Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, passed Class 10 at the age of 22. Patel travelled to attend schools in Nadiad, Petlad and Borsad. At the age of 36 he went to England and enrolled at the Middle Temple Inn in London. Completing a 36-month course in 30 months, Patel finished at the top of his class despite having had no previous college background.
During his law study, he lived away from home and his family in England for two years and studied with the help of other lawyers by borrowing books from them. He converted his lack of financial resources into opportunities. When Gujarat too like the rest of the world was hit with Bubonic Plague, he tended to his friends who suffered from it and later he was down with it too. He always has believed in the sacrifice for others. During this period, he isolated himself from his family for their safety and spent his time in a dilapidated temple in his healing days.
“Fundamental Rights and Economic Policy” resolution was passed by Congress in 1931 under Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s chairmanship. Sardar Patel was arrested along with Gandhi in 1932 and was released two years later in 1934.
He was also sent to prison again in 1940 for a period of 9 months when Sardar Patel supported Gandhi in the Quit India Movement during the outbreak of the second world war. And after release, he participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement for the British to finally Quit India. Once again he got arrested in August 1942 and was not released till June 16th 1945.
Patel was initially apprehensive of Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence but later embraced it as he understood its importance and power. Upon his release in 1945, it came to his knowledge that the British are indeed considering the transfer of power to India. His valiant struggles also garnered him the title of “Iron Man Of India”.
Sardar Patel despite his failing health and age never lost sight of the larger purpose of creating United India. As India’s first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Patel played a key role in the integration of about 565 princely states into the Indian Union.
Few princely states like Travancore, Hyderabad, Junagadh, Bhopal and Kashmir were averse to joining the state of India. Sardar Patel worked tirelessly to build a consensus with the princely states but did not hesitate in employing methods of Sama, Dama, Dand and Bhed where ever necessary.
- Civil Disobedience Movement Earned the title ‘Sardar’ at the Bardoli Satyagraha in Gujarat in 1928.
- Quit India Movement Lead an all-out rebellion to galvanize the people of India in 1942.
- Political Integration of India Helped integrate over 500 princely states into the Union of India in 1947.