Much acclaimed Indian statesman and barrister Vallabhbhai Patel was born on 31st of October in the year 1875. He was known for his contribution to the Indian National Congress and was affectionately called 'Sardar Patel' by his colleagues. Sardar Patel was one of the founding fathers of the Republic of India along with eminent leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi. Born and brought up in Gujarat, Sardar Patel was an established lawyer when he decided to join the National struggle of Independence.
He undertook the responsibility of organizing peasants from all over Gujarat to participate in the non-violence civil disobedience movement. He was also one of the most influential leaders who promoted the Quit India Movement. Sardar Patel took charge of Indian democracy as the first Deputy PM of India as well as the first Home Minister of the country. He was the man who restored peace in the country by offering relief to the refugees from the 1927 floods of Kheda district. Besides this, he was also instrumental in integrating the whole nation together in the newly formed India. For his utmost efforts and extreme contributions, Sardar Patel was given the title of the "Iron Man of India".
In 2014, the Govt of India announced to celebrate the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas on 31st of October to commemorate the life of the "Patron Saint of India's Civil Servant". On the occasion of 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled larger than a life-sized statue to honor first Deputy Prime Minister of India. At present, the 182-meter Statue of Unity is the world's tallest statue. It is located on the river island called Sadhu Bet facing the Narmada Dam near Rajpipla in Gujarat.
Sardar Patel was a self-sufficient man who finished his schooling from Borsad, Nadiad and Petlad. He further went on to study in England and became a successful lawyer with his own savings and funds. Meanwhile he married Jhaverba and began living Godhra as one of the most skilled lawyers in the state. Their daughter Maniben was born in the year 1904 followed by a son Dahyabhai two years later. In 1909, Jhaverba underwent an emergency surgery for her cancer however, she couldn't survive. Patel managed to send his children to English Medium school and raised them on his own. His conscious effort led him to England where topped his class and finished his course 6 months prior to the given time.
Back in India, he became a renowned figure of Ahmedabad where he finally thought of settling as a barrister.
Sardar Patel's Political Career:
In 1971, Sardar Patel became the sanitation commissioner from his region after winning an election. Within no time, Patel entered politics as a secretary of the Gujarat Sabha and fought against Veth and Kheda Famines upon insistence of Mahatma Gandhi. He soon got inspired by him and left all his material ambitions and let go of his career. Patel participated actively in the revolt for Satyagraha and emerged as a hero in Gujarat. He helped the villagers of Kheda to hide their valuables from the Britishers for a long time and asked them to join the revolt by denying the tax. This forced the Britishers to wave off the tax for the year.
Patel's contribution in the Non-Cooperation Movement was exponential. He switched to Khadi clothes, raised 1.5 million rupees in funds and recruited over three hundred thousand members in his team against the ill practices of Alcoholism, Caste Discrimination and untouchability. Even the school systems were improvised and the struggle for women empowerment was also undertaken by Patel. Patel fought against the steep taxes in Bardoli as well where the struggle intensified and people started to address him a "Sardar" or the leader.
Patel was an important figure in the Dandi March as well as the Quit India Movement. From thereon, his bond with Mahatma Gandhi grew stronger. It was only on 9th of August when Patel was eventually arrested along with many leading congressmen for his revolt against the Britishers. He was release in 1945. His powerful speeches stirred many hearts in the nation and that power led Britishers to lose the fight.
Vallabhai Patel took charge of the information and home affairs department and shifted to House No 1 on Aurangzeb Road of Delhi and represented India on the much criticized Partition Council. He was later appreciated for his stand in the political integration of India. He was an eminent figure who was not only the right hand of Gandhi in many ways but was also an instrumental figure in the journey of freedom. Patel was the last man with whom Gandhi ji had interacted minutes before his assassination. Patel was devastated on the news but joined hands with Nehru to take India to its freedom and started working together despite of the pole-difference in views. Two months later Patel suffered a heart attack but was saved by the timely actions of his nurse, daughter and secretary.
Illness and Death:
During the early 1950's Patel's health started to deteriorate and he began to cough blood. He was flown to Mumbai where a large crowd greeted him and prayed for his recovery. Sadly, Sardar Patel breathed his last because of another massive heart attack on 15 December 1950 that took away his life. Over 1500 officers of India mourned his death at his residence the next day and pledged to serve the country with utmost zeal and loyalty. His cremation ceremony was held in Marine Lines (former Sonapur) and was attended by over 1 million people including the then President, Prime Minister and other important ministers and delegates.
Awards and Recognition
Posthumously, Sardar Patel's daughter led the Sardar Patel Memorial Trust while his son Dahyabhai served Lok Sabha as an MP during the 60s. Patel was honored with a Bharat Ratna Award by the Government along with the announcement of the celebration of the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas on 31st October every year. Sardar Patel Nation Memorial was established with a gallery, museum, library and other important documents from his professional and personal life. The Sardar Sarovar and Sardar Vallabhai National Institute of Technology were established in his fond memory. Later many public and private institutions were named after him.
Words and Wishes:
On the occasion of Rashtriya Ekta Diwas, renowned political personalities paid their tribute to Sardar Patel. Here are some of the excerpts:
"Vallabhbhai Patel's ideology and heritage cannot be forgotten. After Chanakya, it was Sardar Patel who strung India together with unity. He contributed immensely to India's unity."
"My tribute to Sardar Patel on his birth anniversary. One of the founding fathers of our nation,a patriot and a great congressman."
"I once again pay homage to the Ironman of India, who brought together numerous small states to form a unified and strong India through display of sheer perseverance and resilience"
M. Venkaiah Naidu
"We should follow the teaching and preaching’s of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in our regular lives and inspire others to do the same."
The Entire Nation
(FOLLOWER OF VALLABHBHAI JHAVERBHAI PATEL)
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