Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was born on October 31, 1875 in Bombay. Vallabhbhai Patel was a prominent figure in India’s freedom struggle who later became India’s first Deputy Prime Minister and first Home Minister. He is known for his contribution in the integration of 565 princely states into the newly independent India. Sardar Patel, who is popularly known as Iron Man of India, has made significant contributions to India’s freedom struggle and modern India.
Contribution of Sardar Patel in Indian Freedom Struggle and Modern India:
1. In 1918, Vallabhbhai took charge of leading the farmers in Gujarat. He started Kheda satyagraha which demanded suspension of revenue collection from farmers as there was drought.
2. In 1920 the Congress started a non-cooperation struggle and Vallabhbhai gave up his practice. He established the Gujarat Vidyapeeth where children could study instead of attending government schools.
3. In 1928, he successfully organized the landowners of Bardoli against the increase in British taxes. It was after Vallabhbhai was given the title of Sardar (Leader).
4. In 1931, he served as the President of the Indian National Congress at its Karachi session, which changed the nature of the movement from a political struggle and added new socio-economic dimensions to it. Within the Congress, he was part of the No changers faction and emphasized the key role of constructive work in village regeneration and conveying the message of nationalism to the masses.
5. He was also the Chairman of the Congress Parliamentary Sub-Committee which had full control over the Congress Ministries during the 28 months of their rule under the 1935 Act.
6. He played a key role in the harrowing negotiations with the British about the freedom and partition of the country.
7. Vallabhbhai Patel was one of the first Congress leaders to accept the partition of India as a solution to the growing Muslim separatist movement led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He was outraged by Jinnah’s Direct Action campaign, which had sparked communal violence across India, and by the Viceroy’s veto of his Home Ministry’s plan to stop the violence on constitutional grounds.
8. Constituent Assembly – Patel was part of the Constituent Assembly which aimed to frame the Constitution of India. He was involved in gathering prominent people across the country and also convinced Ambedkar to become a member of the editorial board. Patel was the chairman of the committees responsible for minorities, tribal and excluded areas, fundamental rights and provincial constitutions.
9. In 1947, when India got its freedom, Sardar Patel became the Deputy Prime Minister. He was in charge of Home Affairs, Information and Broadcasting and the Department of State. He was given the task of incorporating 562 princely states into the union. He accomplished this skillfully and took drastic steps like sending the army to Junagadh and Hyderabad to force them to merge with free India. It is because of these powerful moves that he is called the Iron Man of India.
10. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s vision was that the civil service should promote cohesion and national unity. He wanted a strong and vibrant federal administrative system in which the All India Services would play an important role.
Patel was a selfless leader who put the country’s interests above all else and shaped India’s destiny with single-minded dedication. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s invaluable contribution in building a modern and united India must be remembered by every Indian as the country moves forward as one of the largest economies in the world.
Written by : Vaishali Verma