Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was born in 1875 at Karamsad, a village in Kaira district in Gujarat. He was a farmer coming from a farmer's family. At school, he was a naughty and mischievous boy. In due course, he passed his matriculation examination and after some years he passed the Law examination. He practiced as a lawyer at Godhra.
He carried on a roaring legal practice. As he was ambitious, he went to England and became a barister-at-law. In 1923, he became the leader of Bardoli Satyagraha. Since then, he came to be called Sardar Patel. His elder brother, Mr. Vithalbhai Patel, was the President of the Indian Legislative Assembly.
He was jailed several times in connection with the freedom movement. He was the right hand man of Mahatma Gandhi and his most trusted lieutenant. It was Patel who maintained discipline in the Congress ranks. In 1936, the Congress at the General Election won the majority of seats in seven provinces of British India.
Sardar Patel, as the most important member of the Central Parliamentary Board, controlled with a firm hand the Congress Ministries in the seven provinces. In 1947, India was partitioned into Pakistan and free India. Sardar Patel became free India's first deputy Prime Minister, pandit Jawaharlal Nehru being the first Prime Minister. He was in charge of the Home Department and administered law and order.
Future historians will marvel at his organizing capacity and superhuman ability. The integration of 600 Princely States and the elimination of autocratic rule of the Maharajas and Nawabs will ever stand out as his unique and greatest achievement. He did it without bloodshed and in the short span of two years.
Was it not a miracle? To him rightly goes the credit of completely changing the map of India. Tribal raiders and Pakistani troops attacked Kashmir and tried to secure accession by force. He saw the writing on the wall. The Indian armies landed in Kashmir by air.
The tide was stemmed, the tables were turned. The tribal raiders and Pakistani troops were made to flee. Cease-fire was proclaimed in January 1949. The police action against the Nizam of Hyderabad showed his iron will to see a thing through, no matter how insurmountable the difficulties and how great the opposition.
He was essentially a man of action. He was India's man of destiny. He was the steel man of India. He was the brightest luminary on the home front. He was a walking volcano with fires raging in his heart. He was not a man to be ignored or trifled with. Defeat he never knew, weakness he never felt and indiscipline he never tolerated.
He was a pillar of fire and enthusiasm, but like a practical statesman, he was also calm and unfathomable. He never hesitated to take a decisive step. He combined quickness of decision with resourcefulness.
He was the greatest administrator and the best statesman that India has ever produced. His death on 15th December 1950, left India poorer. By his death free India has suffered a loss in political leadership that is difficult to repair.
Essay on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel: Know About the ‘Iron Man of India’
October 31, 2017
“We salute Sardar Patel on his Jayanti. His momentous service and monumental contribution to India can never be forgotten”. It is with these words that Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi flagged off a run to commemorate the 142nd birth anniversary of the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Sardar (chief) was how he was addressed and with good reason. The tremendous contributions made by Patel to India’s freedom struggle and the resolute leadership displayed by him while our great nation was still in its early years of independence are indeed praiseworthy and memorable.
Iron Man of India
Born to a farmer in Gujarat (in the year 1875), Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel, displayed a resolute determination from an early age. Undaunted by his humble beginnings and the disheartening condition of the country under British colonial rule, Patel went on to study in England and became a barrister. Coming back home, Patel rose to eminence as one of the best barristers of Ahmedabad city. The idea of servitude, however, was not a pleasant one and his ideological clashes with the British continued to grow. He soon threw himself heart and soul into the national freedom movement. He rose to become one of the most influential leaders of the Indian National Congress and came to be regarded as a very close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. Though he remained very active in organizing mass civil disobedience protests in his home state, Gujarat, Patel did not lose sight of the nation as a whole.
Integration of Princely States
By the time Indian independence from the British Raj became imminent, there were over 550 princely states. These states were varied in size and might. The royal families were, in most cases, reluctant to join the Indian union. Integration of these princely states became a matter of prime importance and this responsibility was handed to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Along with V. P. Menon, another exceptional administrator, Patel was responsible for bringing together these states and building up the Indian Republic. His strong determined approach, his frank communication, and his excellent negotiation skills managed to give shape to the country.
Sardar Patel was not a man to mince words. He extended every possible concession for the royal families but did not hold back on the possibility of military action in case the states did not join India. Not only did he manage to secure the accession of these states but also oversaw the transformation of administration in a phased way. This earned his the moniker “Unifier of India”.
Patel worked extensively with the civil servants and bureaucrats to establish unified nationwide systems across the country. He is also fondly referred to as the “patron saint” of our civil services for this reason but it is the common man who enjoys the benefits of these services that Patel managed to establish in India.
First Home Minister
As the first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of the country, Sardar Patel steered the country through turbulent times. For a leader who passionately led India through (the latter part of) its freedom struggle, the violent partition and consequent bloodbath would have been heart wrenching and disappointing. Patel did not let the grief overshadow his sense of responsibility. He set up large scale relief camps and refugee shelters across northern India and set about restoring peace and stability in the country. The newly inaugurated Sardar Sarovar dam is but a translation of this great man’s vision, his commitment to regional prosperity and national upliftment.
In the years following India’s independence, Sardar Patel played a very important role in shaping national policies. His success was at times limited due to the imposition of contrary ideas by Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, and others, but the wisdom of his ideals and his policies remain at the very foundation of India’s growth.
A Legacy of Unity
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel leaves behind a rich legacy of unity and integrity. His toils and efforts which managed to stitch together the numerous small and often conflicting princely states into the colourful tapestry that makes up Indian society, have been recognized by the Government of India and since 2014 his birth anniversary, 31 October, is commemorated as National Unity Day (Rashtriya Ekta Diwas). This year, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all universities and higher education institutions in the country to celebrate Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary in the hope that the youth of the country shall imbibe the same sense of national pride and unity as demonstrated by Sardar Patel.
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