Our 1st deputy pm and home minister of India popularly known as “sardar vallabhbhai patel”. The “sardar” in his name was the symbol of leader. Patel’s date of birth was never officially recorded he himself entered 31st 0ctober 1875 in his matriculation he was born into a self-sufficient landowning family of the Leva Patidar community of Gujrat. Patel attended high school Nadiad, Petlad, and Borsad, living self-sufficiently with other boys. He reputedly cultivated a stoic character. After matriculation Patel himself, though, harbored a plan to study to become a lawyer. Patel spent years away from his family, studying on his own with books borrowed from other lawyers, passing his examinations within two years. During his study period Patel was married at 16. As a lawyer, Patel distinguished himself in presenting an unassailable case in a precise manner and in challenging police witnesses and British judges. In 1908 Patel lost his wife due to cancer, who had borne him a son and daughter, and thereafter remained a widower. After this painful incident he traveled to London in August 1910 to study at the Middle Temple. There he studied diligently and passed the final examinations with high honours.
In February 1913 Returned to India and settled in Ahmadabad, rising rapidly to become the leading barrister in criminal law at the Ahmadabad bar. Reserved and courteous, he was noted for his superior mannerisms, his smart, English-style clothes, and his championship in bridge at Ahmadabad’s fashionable Gujarat Club. He was, until 1917, indifferent to Indian political activities . He nurtured ambitions to expand his practice and accumulate great wealth and to provide his children with a modern education. In September 1917, Patel delivered a speech in Borsad, encouraging Indians nationwide to sign Gandhi’s petition demanding Swaraj – self-rule – from Britain. A month later, he met Gandhi for the first time at the Gujarat Political Conference in Godhra. On Gandhi’s encouragement, Patel became the secretary of the Gujarat Sabha. Patel adhered to Gandhi’ssatyagraha (policy of nonviolence) insofar as it furthered the Indian struggle against the British. But he did not identify himself with Gandhi’s moral convictions and ideals, and he regarded Gandhi’s emphasis on their universal application as irrelevant to India’s immediate political, economic, and social problems. Nevertheless, having resolved to follow and support Gandhi, Patel changed his style and appearance. He quit the Gujarat Club, dressed in the white cloth of the Indian peasant, and ate in the Indian manner.
He was mostly Supported by Congress volunteers such as Narhari Parikh, Mohanlal Pandya, and Abbas Tyabji, Vallabhbhai Patel began a village tour in the Kheda district, documenting grievances and asking villagers for their support for a state wide revolt by refusing to pay taxes. Patel emphasised the potential hardships and the need for complete unity and non-violence in the face of provocation. He received an enthusiastic response from virtually every village . Patel organised a network of volunteers to work with individual villages, helping them during raids. Thousands of activists and farmers were arrested, but Patel was not. The revolt evoked sympathy and admiration across India, including among pro-British Indian politicians. The government agreed to negotiate with Patel and decided to suspend the payment of taxes for a year, even scaling back the rate. Patel emerged as a hero to Gujaratis. In 1920 he was elected president of the newly formed Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee; he would serve as its president until 1945.
Patel supported Gandhi’s non-cooperation Movement and toured the state to recruit more than 300,000 members and raise over Rs. 1.5 million in funds. Helping organise bonfires in Ahmedabad in which British goods were burned. Now he with his son and daughter switched completely to wearing khadi. In Gujarat he worked extensively in the following years against alcoholism, untouchability, and caste discrimination, as well as for the empowerment of women. In the Congress, he was a resolute supporter of Gandhi against his Swarajist critics. Patel was elected Ahmedabad’s municipal president in 1922, 1924, and 1927; during his terms, he oversaw improvements in infrastructure: the supply of electricity was increased, and drainage and sanitation systems were extended throughout the city. The school system underwent major reforms. He fought for the recognition and payment of teachers employed in schools established by nationalists. Patel personally led relief efforts in the aftermath of the torrential rainfall of 1927 that caused major floods in the city and in the Kheda district, and great destruction of life and property. He established refugee centres across the district, mobilized volunteers, and arranged for supplies of food, medicines, and clothing, as well as emergency funds from the government and the public.
When Gandhi was in prison, Patel was asked by Members of Congress to lead the satyagraha in Nagpur in 1923 against a law banning the raising of the Indian flag. Patel negotiated a settlement obtaining the release of all prisoners and allowing nationalists to hoist the flag in public. Every village in the taluka resisted payment of the tax and prevented the seizure of property and land. After a protracted struggle, the government withdrew the tax. Historians believe that one of Patel’s key achievements was the building of cohesion and trust amongst the different castes and communities, which had been divided along socio-economic lines.
As Gandhi embarked on the Dandi Salt March, Patel was arrested in the village of Ras and was put on trial without witnesses, with no lawyer or journalists were allowed to attend. Patel’s arrest and Gandhi’s subsequent arrest caused the Salt Satyagraha to greatly intensify in Gujarat – districts across Gujarat launched an anti-tax rebellion until and unless Patel and Gandhi were released. Once released, Patel served as interim Congress president, but was re-arrested while leading a procession in Mumbai. After the signing of the Gandhi–Irwin Pact, Patel was elected president of Congress for its 1931 session in Karachi – here the Congress ratified the pact and committed itself to the defence of fundamental rights and civil liberties. It advocated the establishment of a secular nation with a minimum wage and the abolition of untouchability and serfdom. Patel used his position as Congress president to organise the return of confiscated land to farmers in Gujarat. Upon the failure of the Round Table Conference in London, Gandhi and Patel were arrested in January 1932 when the struggle re-opened, and imprisoned in the Yeravda Central Jail. During this term of imprisonment, Patel and Gandhi grew close to each other, and the two developed a close bond of affection, trust, and frankness. Their mutual relationship could be described as that of an elder brother (Gandhi) and his younger brother (Patel). Despite having arguments with Gandhi, Patel respected his instincts and leadership. In prison, the two discussed national and social issues, read Hindu epics, and cracked jokes. Gandhi taught Patel Sanskrit. Gandhi’s secretary, Mahadev Desai, kept detailed records of conversations between Gandhi and Patel. When Gandhi embarked on a fast-unto-death protesting the separate electorates allocated for untouchables, Patel looked after Gandhi closely and himself refrained from partaking of food.Patel was later moved to a jail in Nasik, and refused a British offer for a brief release to attend the cremation of his brother Vithalbhai, who had died in 1934. He was finally released in July of the same year.
On the out break of World War II, Patel supported Nehru’s decision to withdraw the Congress from central and provincial legislatures, contrary to Gandhi’s advice, as well as an initiative by senior leader Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari to offer Congress’s full support to Britain if it promised Indian independence at the end of the war and installed a democratic government right away. Gandhi had refused to support Britain on the grounds of his moral opposition to war, while Subhash Chandra Bose was in militant opposition to the British. The British rejected Rajagopalachari’s initiative, and Patel embraced Gandhi’s leadership again. He participated in Gandhi’s call for individual disobedience, and was arrested in 1940 and imprisoned for nine months. He also opposed the proposals of the Cripps’ mission in 1942. Patel lost more than twenty pounds during his period in jail.
In the 1946 election for the Congress presidency, the nominations were to be made by 15 state/regional Congress committees. Despite Gandhi’s well-known preference for Nehru as Congress president, not a single Congress committee nominated Nehru’s name. 12 out of 15 Congress committees nominated Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel. The remaining three Congress committees did not nominate anybody’s name. The majority was in favour of Sardar Patel. Mahatma Gandhi told Acharya J B kriplani to get some proposers for Nehru from the Congress Working Committee (CWC) members despite knowing fully well that only Pradesh Congress Committees were authorized to nominate the president. In deference to Gandhi’s wish, Kripalani convinced a few CWC members to propose Nehru’s name for party president. Later, Mahatma Gandhi tried to make Nehru understand the reality. He conveyed to Nehru that no PCC has nominated his name and that only a few CWC members have nominated him but Nehru was defiant and made it clear that he will not play second fiddle to anybody. Thus, Patel stepped down in favour of Nehru at the request of Gandhi. The election’s importance stemmed from the fact that the elected president would lead independent India’s first government. As the first Home Minister, Patel played a key role in the integration of the princely states into the Indian federation.
When the British mission proposed two plans for transfer of power, there was considerable opposition within the Congress to both. The plan of 16 May 1946 proposed a loose federation with extensive provincial autonomy, and the “grouping” of provinces based on religious-majority. The plan of 16 May 1946 proposed the partition of India on religious lines, with over 565 princely states free to choose between independence or accession to either dominion. The League approved both plans while the Congress flatly rejected the proposal of 16 May. Gandhi criticised the 16 May proposal as being inherently divisive, but Patel, realising that rejecting the proposal would mean that only the League would be invited to form a government, lobbied the Congress Working Committee hard to give its assent to the 16 May proposal. Patel engaged the British envoys Sir Stafford Cripps and Lord Pethick-Lawrence and obtained an assurance that the “grouping” clause would not be given practical force, Patel converted Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, and Rajagopalachari to accept the plan. When the League retracted its approval of the 16 May plan, the viceroy Lord Wavell invited the Congress to form the government. Under Nehru, who was styled the “Vice President of the Viceroy’s Executive Council”, Patel took charge of the departments of home affairs and information and broadcasting. He moved into a government house on Aurangzeb Road in Delhi, which would be his home until his death in 1950
The Governor-General of India, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, along with Nehru and Patel, formed the “triumvirate” that ruled India from 1948 to 1950. Prime Minister Nehru was intensely popular with the masses, but Patel enjoyed the loyalty and the faith of rank and file Congressmen, state leaders, and India’s civil servants. Patel was a senior leader in the Constituent Assembly of India and was responsible in large measure for shaping India’s constitution. He is also known as the “Bismarck of India”. Patel was a key force behind the appointment of Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar as the chairman of the drafting committee, and the inclusion of leaders from a diverse political spectrum in the process of writing the constitution.
He was also instrumental in the creation of the All India Services which he described as the country’s “Steel Frame”. In his address to the probationers of these services, he asked them to be guided by the spirit of service in day-to-day administration. He reminded them that the ICS was no longer neither Imperial, nor civil, nor imbued with any spirit of service after Independence. His exhortation to the probationers to maintain utmost impartiality and incorruptibility of administration is as relevant today as it was then. “A civil servant cannot afford to, and must not, take part in politics. Nor must he involve himself in communal wrangles. To depart from the path of rectitude in either of these respects is to debase public service and to lower its dignity,” he had cautioned them on 21 April 1947
Patel was intensely loyal to Gandhi, and both he and Nehru looked to him to arbitrate disputes. However, Nehru and Patel sparred over national issues. When Nehru asserted control over Kashmir policy, Patel objected to Nehru’s side lining his home ministry’s officials. Nehru was offended by Patel’s decision-making regarding the states’ integration, having consulted neither him nor the Cabinet. Patel asked Gandhi to relieve him of his obligation to serve, believing that an open political battle would hurt India. After much personal deliberation and contrary to Patel’s prediction, Gandhi on 30 January 1948 told Patel not to leave the government. A free India, according to Gandhi, needed both Patel and Nehru. Patel was the last man to privately talk with Gandhi, who was assassinated just minutes after Patel’s departure. At Gandhi’s wake, Nehru and Patel embraced each other and addressed the nation together. Patel gave solace to many associates and friends and immediately moved to forestall any possible violence. Within two months of Gandhi’s death, Patel suffered a major heart attack; the timely action of his daughter, his secretary, and a nurse saved Patel’s life. Speaking later, Patel attributed the attack to the “grief bottled up” due to Gandhi’s death
Patel’s health declined rapidly through the summer of 1950. He later began coughing blood, whereupon Maniben began limiting her meetings and working hours and arranged for a personalised medical staff to begin attending to Patel. The Chief Minister of West Bengal and doctor Bidhan Roy heard Patel make jokes about his impending end, and in a private meeting Patel frankly admitted to his ministerial colleague N. V. Gadgil that he was not going to live much longer. Patel’s health worsened after 2 November, when he began losing consciousness frequently and was confined to his bed. He was flown to Bombay (now Mumbai) on 12 December on advice from Dr Roy, to recuperate as his condition was deemed critical. Nehru, Rajagopalchari, Rajendra Prasad, and Menon all came to see him off at the airport in Delhi. Patel was extremely weak and had to be carried onto the aircraft in a chair. In Bombay, large crowds gathered at Santacruz Airport to greet him. To spare him from this stress, the aircraft landed at Juhu Aerodrome, where Chief Minister B. G. Kher and Morarji Desai were present to receive him with a car belonging to the Governor of Bombay that took Vallabhbhai to Birla House.
After suffering a massive heart attack (his second), Patel died at 9:37 a.m. on 15 December 1950 at Birla House in Bombay. In an unprecedented and unrepeated gesture, on the day after his death more than 1,500 officers of India’s civil and police services congregated to mourn at Patel’s residence in Delhi and pledged “complete loyalty and unremitting zeal” in India’s service. Numerous governments and world leaders sent messages of condolence upon Patel’s death, including Trygve Lie, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, President Sukarno of Indonesia, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan of Pakistan and Prime Minister Clement Attlee of the United Kingdom.
In homage to Patel, the Indian government declared a week of national mourning. Patel’s cremation was planned at Girgaum Chowpatty, but this was changed to Sonapur (now Marine Lines) when his daughter conveyed that it was his wish to be cremated like a common man in the same place as his wife and brother were earlier cremated. His cremation in Sonapur in Bombay was attended by a crowd of one million including Prime Minister Nehru, Rajagopalachari, and President Rajendra Prasad
Dedicating to Patel The Statue of Unity is made which is a monument, located in the Indian state of Gujarat, facing the Narmada Dam, 3.2 km away from Sadhu Bet near Vadodara. At the height of 182 metres (597 feet), it is the world’s tallest statue exceeding the Spring Temple Buddha by 54 meters. This statue and related structures are spread over 20000 square meters and are surrounded by an artificial lake spread across 12 km and cost an estimated 29.8 billion rupees ($430m). It was inaugurated by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31, 2018, the 143rd anniversary of Patel’s birth.