Hot blood coursing through their veins, their heads bowing down to the injustice, their hands touching the feet of scorn, pride and abomination personified, their blood spilling on the fields, an event contributing to the entertainment of British Raj, is a picture depicting the condition of the Indians before Independence. A man among others responsible for relieving India from it’s condition of an eagle chained down, pinions bound to the dust, to an eagle soaring high and majestic! We salute our heroes, who fought and conquered the idea of Independence of India!
Here are some facts about Sardar Vallabhai Patel, inscribing the Iron Man of India forever in our hearts:
1. Sardar Patel was born in Nadiad city in the Indian state of Gujarat
Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel was born into a Gurjar family, his birth date was not officially recorded. The date registered later was 31st October, 1875 as per Sardar Patel’s matriculation examination papers.
2. A late start, a genius in the bloom!
After completing school at the age of 22, he accomplished his 36-month-course of a barrister in just 30 months, at the age of 36, emerging as one of the most successful barristers of the country.
3. A staunch family man
Patel refused to join college owing to less funds. Instead he borrowed books, taught himself and cleared the District Leader’s exam with the highest marks! He had first allowed his elder brother Vithalbhai Patel to complete his education abroad.
Yes, sacrifice is the common link among all great leaders!
4. Went to England for further studies
Sardar Patel went to England to further study law and came out as an ace barrister.
After coming to India he was offered job by British government multiple times, but he rejected them.
5. Talk about brotherly love
Setting the benchmark for bromance since then!
Although being a lover of Western clothing and fashion, his love for Gandhiji triumphed. He himself arranged bonfires of all English-style clothes, converting completely to khadi.
6. Patel stepped down in favour of Nehru
In 1946 during Congress election, 13 out of 16 states chose Sardar Patel as their president. He was the most popular face to become the first Prime Minister of independent India. But upon Gandhi’s request, Sardar stepped down as a candidate leading to Jawaharlal Nehru becoming the first Prime Minister.
Experts say the story of independent India would have been much different had Sardar Patel been the Prime Minister instead of Nehru.
7. Sardar Patel became the first deputy prime minister and home minister of independent India
8. A firm supporter of the Non-Cooperation Movement
Patel gathered more than 300,000 members for Non-Cooperation Movement, raising funds worth Rs.15 lakhs.
9. The man who united India
Along with V.P. Menon, he had managed to persuade 565 semi-independent princely states to join the Indian Union. He also tackled the Nizam of Hyderabad & the Nawab of Junagarh who initially did not want to join India
A task, unimaginable by today’s leaders!
10. One of the most influential leaders, a national hero
He organized a non-violent movement of peasants in the Kheda District, asking them to refuse to pay taxes, which resulted in tax exemption for an year along with reduction in the rates.
11. Contracted the Bubonic Plague
In the event of looking after a friend who had been affected by Bubonic plague, he himself got infected following which he left his home and sent his family to safety.
This plague killed about 12 million across India and China.
12. A man ruled by work first, then emotions
On receiving the news of his wife’s death, who was suffering from cancer, he finished cross examining his witness in the courtroom, won the case, and later mourned.
He never remarried in the loving memory of his wife.
13. Fight for self-rule
Became the sanitation commissioner of Ahmedabad dated in 1917, and then elected as the Municipal President in 1922, 1924, 1927.
And that is how, electricity supply and educational reforms came into picture in Ahmedabad.
14. From Vallabhbhai Patel to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Owing to the victory in Bardoli where tax rates where were scaled down, returning seized property to name a few successes, Patel was bestowed on the title of Sardar by his co-workers.
15. “Patron saint” of India’s services
He played a major role in creation of Indian Administrative Services (IAS), which was earlier Indian Civil Services Code (ICS), drafted by Britishers for their own interests. This is how Sardar Patel came to be known as ‘Patron Saint’ for establishing modern All India Services.
16. The true savior of refugees
Nobody had imagined that the consequences of partition of India in 1947 would result in intense violence. During that time Patel led in organising relief camps of refugees, provide emergency supplies, visiting border areas to encourage peace.
Patel also took care of Muslim minority during the turmoil and always stood for them.
17. Protected India from Pakistani invasion of Kashmir
Jawaharlal Nehru was not able to take any firm decision on Kashmir when Pakistan started invasion of Kashmir in 1947. It was Patel’s intervention that Indian Army moved to Kashmir on time and send back the invaders.
18. Health start to decline in 1950
Patel’s condition had started worsening and later began coughing blood. He was then flown to Bombay for recovery but suffered a major heart attack and took his last breath on 15th December 1950.
19. Conferred with Bharat Ratna in 1991
The Iron Man of India was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1991, the highest civilian honor. Well, better late than never!
20. 1993, saw the production of the biopic Sardar
Directed by Ketan Mehta, biopic on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel got released in 1993 throwing light on Patel’s relations with Gandhi and Nehru.
Paresh Rawal played the lead role of Sardar Patel in the biopic.
21. Namesake of many public institutions in India
Sardar Sarovar, Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology, Sardar Patel University, Sardar Patel High School and India’s national police training academy is also named after the him.
22. Statue of Unity dedicated to the leader
The Statue of Unity is under construction in Gujarat. 597 feet (182 metres) tall, the statue will be the world’s tallest when completed.
23. Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day) is celebrated on 31st October
Inaugrated by P.M. Narendra Modi in 2014, we proudly celebrate Rashtriya Ekta Diwas on 31st October in the loving memory of Sardar Vallabhai Patel.
As wide as the ocean, and boundless as the lofty heaven, that is how much gratitude we owe to the Iron Man of India.