About Sardar Patel
October 31, 1875
Nadiad Town, Gujarat
Jhaverbhai (A Farmer)
Jhaverba (Who Passed Away in 1909)
Maniben (Born in 1903)
Dahyabhai (Born in 1905)
Iron Man of India, Sardar
December 15, 1950 (At Birla House Mumbai)
Story of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Sardar Patel was born in Nadiad, Gujarat, on October 31, 1875 (His birth anniversary is now observed as National Unity Day or Rashtriya Ekta Diwas). He hailed from a farmer’s family. In his early years, Sardar Patel was considered by many as an unambitious man destined for a commonplace job. However, Patel proved them wrong. He passed the law examination, often studying himself, with borrowed books. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel practised law at Godhra, Borsad, and Anand in Gujarat, after passing the bar examination. He earned the reputation of being a fierce and skilled lawyer.
Although Vallabhbhai Patel joined the village school as a boy, he learnt simple arithmetic and tables from his father whilst accompanying him to the fields. Curious to learn, he asked his teachers in school too many questions. Annoyed, they told him to learn for himself. Taking the cue, much of his learning was self-taught. Feeling the urge to study English, at the age of sixteen after completing his seventh grade in Gujarati, Vallabhbhai moved to Petlad, a small town seven miles from his home, for further studies as his hometown Karamsad did not have an English school. Persuading six other boys from Karamsad to move with him, he rented a small house in Petlad where they cooked, shared chores and studied. At the age of 22, he completed his Matriculation from Nadiad. Thereafter, he aspired to study in Bombay but life took him in another direction.
In 1911, at the age of 36, two years after the death of his wife, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel journeyed to England and enrolled at the Middle Temple Inn in London. Sardar Patel finished at the top of his class despite having had no previous college background. He completed the 36-month course in 30 months. Returning to India, Patel settled in Ahmedabad and became one of the city’s Most Successful Barristers.
Though Vallabhbhai Patel was offered a lucrative post by the British Government, he rejected them all to come back to India. Upon arriving in India, Patel started practicing as a barrister in Ahmedabad. Soon he became a name to reckon with in the legal circles. His European-style clothes and urban mannerism had become the talk of the town. Working hard, Patel greatly expanded his practice and his wealth.
Sardar Patel's Political Career
Sardar Patel's Political Career
The association with Mahatma Gandhi became closer during the Kheda Satyagraha in 1918, which was launched to secure exemption from payment of the land revenue assessment since the crops had failed. It took three months of intense campaigning that was marked by arrests, seizures of goods, chattels, livestock and much official brutality before relief was secured from an unwilling Colonial Government.
Gandhiji said that if it were not for Vallabhbhai’s assistance “this campaign would not have been carried through so successfully”. The five years from 1917 to 1922 were years of popular agitation in India. The end of the war was followed by the Rowlatt Act and still further curtailment of individual freedom.
The Khilafat movement or the Caliphate movement, also known as the Indian Muslim movement, was a political protest campaign launched by Muslims of British India led by Shaukat Ali, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar, Hakim Ajmal Khan, and Abul Kalam Azad to restore the caliph of the Ottoman Caliphate, who was considered the leader of the Muslims, as an effective political authority. It was a protest against the sanctions placed on the caliph and the Ottoman Empire after the First World War by the Treaty of Sèvres. The movement collapsed by late 1922 when Turkey gained a more favourable diplomatic position and moved towards Nationalism. By 1924, Turkey had simply abolished the role of caliph.
Followed the Khilafat movement with massacres and terror in the Punjab. Gandhiji and the Congress decided on non-cooperation. Vallabhbhai left his practice for good and gave himself up wholly to political and constructive work, touring villages, addressing meetings, organizing picketing of foreign cloth shops and liquor shops.
Then came the Bardoli Satyagraha. The occasion for the Satyagraha was the Government’s decision to increase the assessment of land revenue from Bardoli taluka by 22 per cent and in some villages by as much as 50 to 60 per cent. Having failed to secure redress by other means, the agriculturists of the taluka decided at a Conference on February 12, 1928, to withhold payment of land revenue under the leadership of Vallabhbhai Patel. The struggle was grim and bitter. There were seizures of property and livestock to such an extent that for days on end, people kept themselves and their buffaloes locked in. Arrests followed and then brutalities of the police and the hired Pathans.
The struggle drew the attention of the whole country to it. Patels and Talatis resigned from their jobs. Government revenues remained unrealized. The Government had to ultimately bow before popular resolve and an inquiry was instituted to find out to what extent the increase was justified and the realization of the increased revenue was postponed. It was a triumph not only of the 80,000 peasants of Bardoli but more particularly of Vallabhbhai personally; he was given the title of “Sardar” by the nation.
Integration of The Princely States
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 wherever necessary. He had used force to annex princely states of Junagadh ruled by Nawab and Hyderabad ruled by Nizam, both of whom had wished not to merge their respective states with the Union of India. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel stitched the princely states along with British Indian territory and prevented the balkanization of India.
Vallabhbhai Patel as "Sardar"
The title ‘Sardar’ meaning chief in Hindi, was given to him by Mahatma Gandhi. This name was given to him as a recognition for his exceptional organizational skills during the Bardoli Satyagraha. The Bardoli Satyagraha took place in Gujarat in 1928. This was the period during British rule and was considered a major part of the Civil Disobedience Movement. Vallabhbhai Patel eventually led this Satyagraha and its success gave him the title ‘Sardar’. This was also a turning point in his political power when he became one of the most important leaders of the independence struggle.
"iron Man of India" - Alias of Sardar Patel
Sardar Patel used diplomacy, mediation, and foresight to get the various princely states into the Indian Union without bloodshed. His most lasting legacy is his attempts to unite a dispersed country, where his persuasive skills and statesmanship were put to the test. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was tasked with the monumental mission of political integration in India, and he is responsible for uniting the country’s 562 Princely States.
Hence, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was called the “Iron Man of India” for his unwavering attempts to integrate the princely states into the Indian federation.
Bharat Ratna Sardar Patel
Association With Leaders
jawaharlal Nehru And Sardar Patel
Nehru and Patel was a rare combination. They complemented each other. The two great leaders of the Indian National Congress had mutual admiration and respect. There were differences in approach – but the end goal for both was to find what is best for India. The differences of opinion were mostly regarding the Congress hierarchy, working style, or ideologies. Within Congress – Nehru was widely considered Left-wing (socialism) while Patel’s ideologies were aligned with the Right-wing (capitalism).
There were differences in the choice of Congress presidential candidates in 1950 between Nehru and Patel. Nehru supported J.B. Kriplani. Patel’s choice was Purushottam Das Tandon. In the end, Kriplani was defeated by Patel’s candidate Purushottam Das Tandon. However, it should be noted that the differences were never big enough to result in a major split in Congress or the Government.
Mahatma Gandhi And Sardar Patel
Dressed in a western suit playing bridge at the Gujarat Club, the first time Sardar Patel had the Opportunity to Meet Mahatma Gandhi, he scoffed at his unusual methods and ideas. Within two years of that meeting, Patel had become one of Gandhi’s Most Ardent Satyagrahis. Sardar Patel was always loyal to Gandhi. However, he differed with Gandhiji on certain issues.
Following Gandhiji’s assassination, he said: “I claim to be nothing more than an obedient soldier of him like the millions who obeyed his call. There was a time when everyone used to call me his blind follower. But, both he and I knew that I followed him because our convictions tallied”.
Sardar Patel's Death
Sardar Patel suffered a heart-attack after Gandhi’s assassination in 1948. His health began to deteriorate in the latter half of 1950. In December, he was taken to Bombay. He had a second heart-attack, and died on December 15, 1950. In 1980, the Sardar Patel National Memorial was opened at Moti Shahi Mahal, Ahmedabad. A major dam on River Narmada (Gujarat) was dedicated to him as Sardar Sarovar Dam. The international airport in Ahmedabad and several academic institutions are named after Patel.
He was posthumously awarded India’s highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, in 1991. In 2014, it was announced that the nation would annually celebrate Patel’s birthday, October 31st, as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas or National Unity Day.
Statue of Unity, A Tribute To Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel?
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was an Indian National Congress leader – until his death. Many historians like Ramchandra Guha, thinks it is ironic that Sardar Patel is being claimed by the BJP when he “was himself a lifelong Congressman”. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor alleged that BJP was trying to ‘hijack’ the legacy of freedom fighters and national heroes like Patel as they have no leaders of their own in history to celebrate.
Many opposition leaders see vested interests in the right-wing party’s effort to appropriate Sardar Patel and depict the Nehru family in a bad light. Built at a cost of Rs. 2,989 crore, the statue depicts Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first Home Minister, wearing a traditional dhoti and shawl, towering over the Narmada River. At 182-metre, the statue is touted as the World’s Tallest Statue – it is 177 feet higher than China’s Spring Temple Buddha, currently the world’s tallest statue. Iron was collected from all over the country for the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, also known as the Iron Man of India.