Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel popularly known as “The Iron man of India” was a prominent leader of Indian National Congress and had a vigorous contribution in Indian freedom struggle. After Independence, Patel became the first deputy PM and Home minister of India. His uncompromising efforts for integrating the princely states with the Indian Union fetched him the title of Iron Man of India. And for this reason his birthday, October 31st is celebrated as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day).
As Patel deeply influenced by Gandhi, he became a staunch follower of the charismatic leader and actively participated in Civil Disobedience movement and Quit India Movement. Vallabhbhai Patel was born on October 31st, 1875 in Nadidad village of Gujarat. His father served in the army lead by Queen Jhansi while his mother was a very spiritual woman. Patel belonged to a mediocre family and hence led an utterly simple life.
Patel was an India Barrister an a statesman and for this proficiency he was offered many lucrative posts by the British but he rejected all of them. In 1891, Patel married Zaveribai and had 2 children. Unfortunately his wife died due to caner in the year January 1909. Sardar Patel started his political career from Gujarat, where he was elected as the secretary of Gujarat Sabha, The Gujarat wing of Indian National Congress. He also led many successful campaigns like “No Tax Campaign” which urged the farmers not to pay taxes to British.
During congress elections in 1946, majority of the party members chose Sardar Patel as their president, but upon Gandhi ji’s request, he stepped down as a candidate and endorsed Jawaharlal Nehru instead.
Patel has received the highest civilian award of Bharat Ratna for his immense contribution. As we roam around freely today without questioning anyone’s freedom, we need to realize that it is all due to sacrifice of our great leaders, the harvests of which we are reaping now. The future generation will marvel forever at his organizing capacity and superhuman ability as the integration of princely states and abolition of autocratic task without bloodshed in the short span of two years was not an easy task. It was only possible due to his calm and unfathomable nature. Had he hesitated to take a decisive state, the picture of India which we see now would have been different. Quiet a miraculous task, Patel has the entire credit for changing the map of India.
Patel was essentially a man of action, India’s man of destiny and the brightest luminary on the home front. He was a great administrator and the best statesman ever seen. Patel survived a heart attack in 1948 but died of natural causes in 1950 while making jokes on deathbed. By his death India has suffered a loss in political leadership that is difficult to repair.
Today on his 140th birthday, Let us, as a nation, thank him for being a selfless person who placed country’s interest above everything. He holds a special spot in the history of nation and in our hearts for eternity.
Article by Ashima.