Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, sometimes known as the Iron Man of India, was one of the Republic of India’s founding fathers. He was a statesman of great integrity who played a crucial part in India’s freedom from British domination. His contribution to the independence movement did not end there, as he was the man who led the country to become a united, sovereign nation. Patel, who was born into a Gujarati family, was educated to be a lawyer. However, after being inspired by Gandhi’s works and beliefs, he decided to devote his life to the Indian battle for independence. He rose to notoriety in his own state for his exceptional work in rescuing Gujarati peasants from the British Raj’s repressive policies through nonviolent civil disobedience. Patel quickly rose to prominence as a leader in the nationalist movement. Sardar, which means Chief, was given to him as a forename because of his capacity to lead from the front. Patel is also credited with developing modern all-India civil services and is known as the “Patron Saint” of India’s civil servants as a result of this. Patel’s pure intelligence, practical acumen, sharp mind, remarkable organizational abilities, and political vision aided him in becoming one of India’s finest leaders.
Childhood and Adolescence
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the fourth of Jhaveribhai Patel’s six children, born to a Gujarati family in the village of Karamsad. He was the youngest of four siblings, with three older brothers and a younger sister.
Vallabhbhai had a reputation for being fierce and physically strong when he was a child. He would fast for a day twice a month, abstaining from food and water.
He received most of his education in Nadiad, Petlad, and Borsad. At the age of 22, he completed his matriculation. Vallabhbhai had ambitions to become an attorney, despite the fact that others in his family believed he was unfocused and unambitious.
He spent a number of years away from his family in order to achieve this. He studied with the help of lawyers’ books, worked hard and saved money, and passed the exam in two years.
Vallabhbhai had a reputation as a tough and capable lawyer in his early years of practice. In Godhra, Borsad, and Anand, he practiced. He even served as the E.M.H.S.’s first chairman (Edward Memorial High School).
Vallabhbhai asked for a permit and ticket to England, which he was granted under the name ‘V.T. Patel’ because he had enough money in his bank account. Vithalbhai, who shared the same initials as Vallabhbhai, was enticed by the chance to carry out a long-held ambition and asked Vallabhbhai to let him travel in his place.
Vallabhbhai enabled Vithalbhai to take his post for the sake of family dignity and prestige. Furthermore, he paid for his brother’s stay and began saving again in order to achieve his objectives.
Vallabhbhai Patel ultimately realized his aim in 1911, when he traveled all the way to England. He finished the 36-month program he had participated in. It was a remarkable achievement given Patel’s lack of a formal college degree, which set him apart from the majority of his peers.
Patel was given lucrative positions by the British government, but he declined all of them in order to return to India. Patel began working as a barrister in Ahmedabad after landing in India. He quickly established himself as a legal force to be reckoned with. His metropolitan demeanor and European-style clothing had become the buzz of the town. Patel’s practice and income grew significantly as a result of his hard work.
Into the Politics
In 1917, Patel ran for the position of sanitary commissioner in Ahmedabad, which he easily won. Meanwhile, hearing Gandhiji speak for the Swadeshi Movement piqued Patel’s interest in politics. Patel became involved in the Indian independence movement after being inspired by Gandhi’s speeches.
Patel was appointed secretary of the Gujarat Sabha, which would become the Gujarati arm of the Indian National Congress, following a meeting with Gandhi at the Gujarat Political Conference at Godhra.
Patel’s political activity increased dramatically. He battled against Indian servitude to Europeans, coordinated relief efforts during the plague and famine in Kheda, and led the nonviolent Civil Disobedience Movement against the British’s increased taxation. He was given the title of ‘Sardar’ for his leadership abilities.
He went from village to village, rallying peasants and other farmers to support a state-wide uprising by refusing to pay taxes. He emphasized the need of unity and nonviolence in the face of adversity, as well as informing the villagers about the potential difficulties they would face.
When the insurrection began, the British authorities retaliated by raiding the farmers’ properties. Thousands of villagers were imprisoned. The uprising had gained national attention and elicited sympathy from individuals all around the country.
The government, embarrassed by the situation, consented to negotiate with Patel. They not only postponed the payment of revenue for the year, but they also reduced the tax rate, making Patel a national hero.
Patel was chosen President of the newly created Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee in 1920 after being nominated and elected. He was a supporter of Gandhi’s non-cooperative movement.
Patel, who used to dress in Western manner, now wears khadi. In Ahmedabad, he even orchestrated multiple bonfires of British goods. Apart from that, Patel fought for women’s empowerment and the abolition of alcoholism, untouchability, and caste prejudice in society.
He completely altered Ahmedabad throughout his three tenure as municipal president. He made important educational reforms and extended electricity, drainage, and sanitation to all portions of the city. He even battled for teachers to be recognized and paid.
It’s worth noting that Sardar Patel was effective in uniting and trusting individuals who, despite belonging to different castes and communities and being separated along socioeconomic lines, were united for a common purpose.
Famine and severe tax increases hit the town of Bardoli in 1928. To address the issue, Sardar Patel organized a fight that called for nonviolent solidarity among the people and demanded that the government pay no taxes.
The satyagraha that began in Bardoli had a similar outcome to that of Kheda, with the British administration agreeing to reverse the tax hike. Sardar Patel’s triumph thrust him into the spotlight, highlighting his status as a typical ‘Sardar’ or ‘leader.’ As a result, he began to be referred to as Sardar Patel by a growing number of people.
In the 1931 Karachi session, Congress appointed Vallabhbhai Patel as interim leader. Patel pledged to defend fundamental rights and human freedoms during his time and envisioned India as a secular society.
The friendship between Gandhi and Patel flourished during this period. Despite their disagreements and opposing beliefs, the two had a strong tie of love, affection, trust, and respect.
Patel has been a key figure in the Indian National Congress since 1934, rising to the position of chairman of the Central Parliamentary Board. Raising finances, selecting candidates, and defining Congress’s stance on issues and opponents were all part of his job description. Despite the fact that he did not run for office, he assisted other Congressmen in becoming elected in the provinces and at the national level.
Contribution in the Quit India Movement
Vallabhbhai Patel, an enthusiastic devotee of Gandhi, took part in the Gandhi-led Quit India Movement. He predicted that, as in Singapore and Burma, mass civil disobedience would force the British to abandon the country.
On August 7, 1942, the All India Congress Committee, under the persuasion of Gandhi and Patel, started the Quit India Movement, a major civil disobedience campaign.
Patel swayed the enormous audience that had gathered to participate in civil disobedience, which included forced shutdowns of government services and refusal to pay taxes. His stirring address enthralled nationalists, even those who were skeptical about the uprising.
Vallabhbhai Patel was arrested two days later on August 9 and released on June 15, 1945, after serving three years in prison. During this time, India and Indians were ruled by strikes, protests, and revolutionary movements, with the consequence that the British decided to leave India and hand over power to the Indians.
Role in the Partition
Patel was nominated as a contender for the presidency of the Congress in the 1946 election. On Gandhi’s recommendation, he declined the position, which was finally taken over by Jawaharlal Nehru. The election was significant because the elected President will lead the first government of independent India.
Patel served as the first Home Minister and Minister of Information and Broadcasting in independent India. He was also the first member of the Congress to embrace India’s partition as a means of containing escalating religious violence and the Muslim separatist movement led by Mohammad Jinnah.
He was effective in convincing Nehru, Gandhi, and other Congress leaders to embrace the partition proposal. He served on the Partition Council as India’s representative and handled the partition of public property. Though Patel claimed to have agreed to the division in order to end sectarian violence, he had no idea what he was in for when it came to the bloodshed and population movement that would follow.
Role in India
India was separated into three divisions at the time of independence. The first was directly under British authority, the second were areas ruled by hereditary rulers, and the third were provinces colonized by France and Portugal.
Patel believed that the only way to achieve his dream of a united and liberated India was for the three territories to become one. He took on the difficult mission of uniting India, blessed with practical understanding, tremendous wisdom, and political foresight.
He began persuading the princes and kings of the different states to fully submit to the British administration, which had given them two options: join India or Pakistan, or remain independent.
Except for the three states of Jammu and Kashmir, Junagadh, and Hyderabad, Patel’s unwavering efforts and persistent appeals yielded profitable results, as he successfully persuaded 565 states. He appealed to the Indian rulers’ patriotism and proposed favorable terms for the merger. Junagadh, on the other hand, had acceded to Pakistan. With over 80% of the population being Hindu and the country’s remoteness from Pakistan, Patel asked Pakistan’s admission be revoked and pushed the Nawab of Junagadh to join India. After the Razakar forces were unable to equal the Indian army, Hyderabad was forced to join the Indian Union.
In the case of Kashmir, the king acceded to India during the Pakistani invasion of Kashmir in September 1947. After that, Patel was in charge of India’s military operations in Srinagar and the Baramulla Pass. In the days that followed, Indian forces reclaimed most of the land that had been taken by the invaders.
Personal History and Legacy
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel married Jhaverba, who was twelve years old at the time, when he was 18 years old. The two stayed apart for a few years until Sardar Patel had a firm income to fall rely on, as per ancient Hindu conventions, which enabled the bride to stay with her parents until her husband had a decent income and an established home.
He established a home in Godhra with Jhaverba. Manibehn, a daughter, was born in 1904, and Dahyabhai, a son, was born two years later.
Jhaverba, who was afflicted with cancer, underwent a big operation in 1909. Despite the fact that the procedure was a success, Jhaverba’s condition continued to deteriorate. In the same year, she died. Patel refused to remarry and instead relied on his family to nurture his children.
In the summer of 1950, Patel’s health began to deteriorate. His condition deteriorated despite his intensive care. He was flown to Mumbai to recover and stayed at the Birla House.
Sardar Patel died on December 15, 1950, after suffering a major heart attack. Prime Minister Nehru, Rajagopalachari, and President Prasad were among the million persons who attended his cremation at Sonapur.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was posthumously given the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, in 1991. Sardar Jayanti is the name given to his birthday, which falls on October 31.
While his residence in Karmsad has been kept in his honor, the Sardar Patel National Memorial, which includes a museum, a gallery of portraits and historical photographs, and a library, was built in 1980.
The nation’s leading institutes, Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology, Sardar Patel University, and Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, have all been named after him.
Unity Statue of Sardar Patel
The Government of India plans to erect an 182 meter (597 ft) tall statue of Sardar Patel to commemorate his vital role in unifying India after independence by uniting 562 princely republics. It would be the world’s tallest statue, standing 3.2 kilometers away on the river island of Sadhu Bet near Vadodara, Gujarat, immediately opposite the Narmada Dam. The entire project will cost Rs 2,979 crore in total.
The ‘Iron Man of India’ and the ‘Bismarck of India’ are two common nicknames for him.
He was given the forename ‘Sardar’ for his leadership abilities and capacity to lead thousands of people.
He is renowned as the ‘Patron Saint’ of India’s services since he was influential in the formation of the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service.
He performed the difficult work of uniting India’s princely states in order for them to join the Indian union. He was able to persuade the princes of 565 nations to join India.