Sardar Patel – The Iron Man of India
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the Iron Man who forged all the 565 princely states of India into a one strong united Republic of India. Sardar Patel was a barrister and he played a key role in the battle of Indian Independence.
He was the first to hold the offices of deputy prime minister, ministry of home affairs and commander-in-chief of the Indian armed forces after India got its Independence from Britain.
His full name is Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel and he was given various titles for his achievements. He was honoured with the titles like ‘‘Sardar’’, ‘‘Iron Man of India’’, ‘‘Patron Saint of India’s Civil Servants’’, and “Unifier of India”. He was one of the great personality and a freedom fighter India ever had.
Statue of Unity
There is a world largest statue of Sardar Patel called “Statue of Unity” located in the state of Gujarat in India. The statue is 182 meters high. The construction of the statue got completed in 2018 and it was inaugurated on 31st October 2018 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was born on 31st October 1875 in Nadiad, Kheda, Gujarat. His father Zaverbhai Galabhai Patel was a soldier who took part in the first Indian Independence war of 1857.
During school time he kept a note of his teacher’s saying to the class when the students used to ask doubts. The teacher used to say- “why do you ask me? Learn for yourself. ” This was noted by Patel in a positive way and he learnt a great lesson on self-reliant.
The Patel did various brave things during his school time. For instance, once in his school, a student was punished for not being able to pay a hefty fine. For that student, he persuaded every one of the school to go on a strike.
He even started a club where every one of the schools can come together to clear off the grievances that they had with each other. Such was the aura of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Sardar Patel was appreciated by all students and teachers. He was a humble man in nature to those who were good.
Once, even after having a high rank of being a Chairman of the Congress Parliamentary Board, when he heard that his English teacher Manchershaw Wadia was coming to meet him, he didn’t wait and he himself went to meet him. As soon as he saw him, he bent down and touched the teacher’s feet as a token of respect.
Sardar Patel got his schooling from the schools of Nadiad, Petlad, and Borsad. He passed his 10th from Nadiad High School in 1897. Furthermore, In 1910, he went to England to pursue law from the Inns of Court. He completed his degree in 1913 and came back to India to practice Law.
Here are the historical significances contributed by Sardar Patel in the Indian Independence movement.
Kheda Satyagraha, 1918
In Kheda, flood and famine occurred and thus the farmers were not able to pay taxes. They insisted the British Government for tax relief. But the government didn’t listen instead they declared the dates of revenue collection. So Sardar Vallabhai Patel along with Mahatma Gandhi started Kheda Satyagraha Campaign wherein farmers were told to not pay taxes.
The British officers confiscated their cattle and land, but the spirit of the farmers didn’t go down and finally, the day came when the farmers won their struggle.
A treaty was signed wherein the taxes for two years were scrapped. And the tax rates were also decreased. And the lands which were confiscated were returned back to the farmers.
Bardoli Satyagraha, 1928
In 1928, Bardoli was shattered because of famine and floods. Even knowing this, the British Government increased the tax rates up to 30%. So all the farmers of Bardoli approached Sardar Vallabbhai Patel for help. He was ready to help on three conditions, firstly, that no matter what all should follow non-violence.
The second condition was that everyone should be determined to not to pay tax even in half.
The last condition was that whatever meetings he would be addressing and whatever campaigns would be carried out, half percentage of it must consist of women. Participation of women would make the British Government realize that not only the men but the women too are strong to fight for their rights.
During the satyagraha, there was a complete boycott and everything was closed. Whenever the British officers were coming to seize the lands and cattle of the villagers, informers of Patel would tell him and the villagers about their coming and thus the villagers would vacate their villages before they come. By this way, the officers were not able to find who the owners of the land were and this created great difficulty for the seizing and auction process.
The satyagraha was carried in a disciplined manner. The Britishers tried their best but the villagers were firm on their goal, they were firm in following the non-violence way.
There were around 87000 villagers who participated in this Satyagraha. The villagers won their battle and the taxes for the two years were scrapped, also the tax rates for the further years were cut to 6 % from 30%. Whatever lands were seized were returned to the peasants.
Unification of India
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was handling a very important task of merging the princely states into one India. His tact of diplomacy and his firmness played a very important role in the integration of different parts of India into the one strong United Republic of India.
He not only told to all the princes what will be the consequences of not joining the Union of India but also assured them that their honour will be respected and the glorious past of their ancestor’s struggle of freedom will be remembered forever.
He also told them that they will not be curtailed of their princely status, their titles will not be taken away from them and their expenses would be met. Above all, he assured the princes that if they are well-skilled, brave and intelligent then they would be given the roles of leadership in the Indian Army, and they will also be made ambassadors to represent India globally.
The first two princely states that joined the Republic of India were Bikaner and Patiala.
Sardar Vallabhbahi father’s name was Zaverbhai Galabhai Patel who was a soldier in the First War of Indian Independence, 1857.
Sardar Patel had four brothers- Somabhai, Narshibhai, Vithalbhai, and Kashibhai. Out of them, Vithalbhai Patel was a legislator. He also had a sister named as Dahiben.
Sardar Patel’s mother’s name was Laad Bai. He got married to Jhaverba in 1891. They had two children. The son – Dayabhai Patel was working in an insurance company and the daughter – Maniben Patel was a freedom fighter.
- 1875 – Vallabhbhai Patel was born.
- 1890 – Patel started to go to school.
- 1892 – Vallabhbhai Patel married to Jhaverba.
- 1897 – Vallabhbhai Patel passed his matriculation exam.
- 1900 – Vallabhbhai Patel began practising law.
- 1904 – Patel had his first child Maniben.
- 1905 – Patel had his second child Dahya.
- 1910 – Vallabhbhai Patel went to England to pursue law from the Inns of Court.
- 1913 – Vallabhbhai Patel completed law.
- 1917 – Vallabhbhai Patel became Sanitation Commissioner of Ahmedabad.
- 1918 – Patel met Mahatma Gandhi.
- 1918 – Vallabhbhai Patel honoured with the title of “Sardar” for leading Kheda Satyagraha.
- 1920 – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was elected as the President of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee.
- 1923 – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was elected as the President of Ahmedabad Municipality.
- 1928 – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel started Bardoli Satyagraha.
- 1930 – Sardar was jailed for participating in the Salt Satyagraha started by Mahatma Gandhi.
- 1931 – Sardar Vallabhbhai was elected as the President of Indian National Congress.
- 1932 – Sardar Patel was arrested for participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement.
- 1942 – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was arrested for participating in the Quit India Movement.
- 1947 to 1950 – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel became Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs and States, 1-st Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Force.
- 1950 – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel died due to heart attack.
- 1991 – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was honoured with Bharat Ratna which is India’s highest civilian award.