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Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel popularly known as The Iron Man Of India, was born on 31st October 1875. He was born in Nadiad, which is a small village in Gujarat. He was born in the Leuva Patel Patidar Community that lived in the town. The real name of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is Vallabhbhai Jhaverbai Patel. Later, people started calling him as Sardar during India’s Freedom Movements. His father Jhaverbai Patel was member of Queen of Jhansi's army. Whereas her mother, Ladbai Patel was inclined towards spirituality. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was a brave and courageous person since his childhood.
He completed his primary education in Karamasad and the higher education in Petland. He completed his matriculation at the age of 22. Everyone who know him thought that he would do an ordinary job. But he proved everyone wrong, when he went to London in 1910 for his further studies. He completed the 36-month course of advocacy in just 30-months. In 1913, he came back to India and got settled in Ahmedabad, being a barrister in criminal law at Ahmedabad bar.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel met Mahatma Gandhiji in October 1917 that brought him close to India’s Independence Movement. He served as the first Muncipal Commissioner of Ahmedabad from 1917 to 1924. In 1924, he became the president of municipality and served till 1928.
His movement to help Farmers and Zamindars against increase in taxes made him prominent figure in 1918. The agitation of Zamindars against increased taxes was led successfully in 1928. After this movement he came to known as “Sardar” that means Leader.
He also joined Indian National Congress and his initial movements started with Satyagraha in Gujarat against British. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was sentenced to imprisonment for three months at time of 1930 during Salt Satyagraha Movement.
Then, He took part in Civil Disobedience Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi where he was again arrested by the British Police in 1940. This time he was imprisonment for 9 months. He lost almost 20 pounds of weight when he was in jail.
Later, He actively participated and led the Quit India Movement in 1942. He was arrested for the third time at the time of Quit India Movement, and his period of imprisonment was from 1942 to 1945 at fort in Ahmednagar.
In 1937, He was leading in the election for the post of Congress President. However, he withdraw his nomination on Gandhi’sadvice. Jawaharlal Nehru replaced him and elected as the President of Congress. Later, Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of India. Perhaps, that could be Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel if he would not have withdraw his nomination and got elected as President of Congress.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had a very strong contribution in uniting the people of India during India’s Freedom Movements. His life has been an inspiring and motivating one. His belief in principle of Unity In Diversity and Stand United for the cause of India’s Independence made him The Iron Man Of India. He travelled all over the country promoting the policy of One India , One Nation.
After Independence, He played prominent role in the integration of India. He became the first Deputy Minister of the country. Later he also became the first Home Minister Of India. He also served as Information Minister and Minister of State of India. He was indeed one of the founding leaders of the Republic of India and was instrumental in keeping the nation united.
Also, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was a leading member of the Constituent Assembly of India. He was the key force in establishing Indian Administrative Services and Indian Police Service.
Gandhiji had profound effect on sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's life, politics and thoughts. He suffered a major heart attack after Gandhiji's death. Although he recovered but he attributed the loss of his mentor. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's health started declining in 1950. He was confined to bed in November,1950. After suffering a massive heart attack, on 15 December 1950, the great soul left the world.
He was Conferred for a Bharat Ratna Award in 1991.
October 31, on the occasion of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s Birth Anniversary ; Rashtriya Ekta Divas was declared in 2014.
Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel is one of the most vital names in India’s struggle for Independence. On 31 st October 2018, his birth anniversary, World’s tallest statue named ‘Statue of Unity’ was established in his memory. The statue with a height of 182 meters (597 ft) stands on the bank of the Sardar Sarovar Dam near Vadodara in Gujarat.
Statue Of Unity is a patriotic symbol of the legacy of a man who spent his life in the struggle for freedom. It is a symbol of both the unity of "hearts and the geographical integrity"
Author : Kiran Mahesh Israni
Baba Saheb Ambedkar college of law, Main Branch, Nagpur.