Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
A Tribute To A Legend
An ardent patriot who was determined to unite 562 princely states with the mainstream India after the British Raj came to an end.
A great administrator who stabilized the volatile condition of a newly freed country.
An illustrious man who led the path of unity and became an eternal icon for the entire nation.
Since the memory of a man who personified the spirit of Indian union must be as inspiring as himself for all future generations, we are creating the STATUE OF UNITY- an eternal embodiment of the life, dreams and accomplishments of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, to evoke remembrance and inspiration in the most unique manner possible.
The Champion of Suraaj
His pivotal role in channeling India’s unity was but one of a multi-faceted leadership of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Also crucial in building India in the post-independence years were his pursuit of practicing Suraaj meaning good governance, which he practiced as India’s first Home Minister and India’s first Deputy Prime Minister. Always rooting for unity, he was also instrumental in mobilizing the farmer community of India as also multiple castes and communities to join the freedom struggle.
Birth : October 31, 1875
Birth Place : Karamsad, Nadiad town, Gujarat
Early Life spent in : Karamsad, Petlad and Nadiad.
Parents : Father Jhaverbhai, a farmer, and mother Laad Bai, a simple lady
Wife : Jhaberaba, who passed away at a very early age
Children : Daughter Maniben (Born in 1904); Son Dahyabhai (Born in 1905)
Death : December 15, 1950
Iron Young Man
Much before his foray into the freedom struggle one can see the force of his Iron will power in his passionate pursuit of law as a career. A brilliant student throughout his career, Sardar always wanted to become a barrister. It’s known that in those days to realize this dream, one had to go to England. But, having been born to a common farmer family, he had no financial means to join a college even in India, let alone travel to England.
However, such hindrances were never a deterrent for the young man of steel determination for he found a way to achieve his dreams. He taught himself. His first step was to borrow books from a lawyer friend and study from home and for practical training he started attending court sessions to observe every argument being thrown closely. Needless to say, the young man passed with flying colours and started his practice in Godhra.
Another facet of his character and compassion is seen when later on he had the capacity to travel abroad. But, he decided to send his elder brother Vitthalbhai, who too was a lawyer, to England for higher studies in Law. Only after his brother’s return did he himself leave for England and stood first in the Barrister-at-Law examination.
Independence Struggle Foray
Sardar Patel’s foray into the freedom struggle was inspired by Gandhiji, who met during a meeting in Godhra. From then on they became friends and Patel started following Gandhiji’s activities, especially his success in Champaran Satyagraha.
The defining moment for the Sardar came when in 1918, Kheda was inundated and devastated by floods. With their crops damaged, farmers asked for relief from the heavy taxes the British government had ensued but to no avail. Gandhiji joined in the fight but could devote his entire attention to Kheda’s struggle.
As he was looking for a person to take up the cause of the farmers in his absence, the Sardar volunteered. And, it was never a half-hearted struggle, with his first step being the giving up of his well-paying legal practice and joining the non-cooperation movement by switching over to Khadi clothes. The struggle was a resounding success with the British government agreeing to hold talks with the Sardar and later on agreeing to his terms (1919) of rolling back the rates. From then on, there was no looking back for this Son of the Soil.
Sardar’s Tryst with Ahmedabad
Paving the way for a clean and planned administration for Ahmedabad, the Sardar played a more administrivtive role in the city. Prior to his joining the Freedom movement, he was elected as the sanitation commissioner of Ahmedabad in 1917 while continuing his legal practice. In the later years, he was elected Ahmedabad's Municipal President in 1922, 1924 and 1927 during which Ahmedabad saw the extension of electricity supply and some major educational reforms.
Sardar’s Uprising In India’s Struggle
After the successful Kheda Satyagrah, in 1928, when Bardoli Taluka in Gujarat suffered from major natural calamities Sardar Patel took up the cudgels on behalf of the farmers once again. In another resounding victory over the draconian British taxation rules, the Sardar organized the farmers and told them not to pay single paisa of tax and fought through the oppression till the British government bowed down. He then earned the title of Sardar, the chief.
Another definite struggle was the Disobedience Movement in 1930 following which he was arrested. Later, he was released and was elected Congress president 1931 session in Karachi. In August 1942, the Indian National Congress launched the Quit India Movement following which Sardar Patel along with many other freedom leaders was jailed for three years.
Building of a United India
Soon after the Indian Independence, 565 princely states, some of which were ruled by Maharajas and others by Nawabs started believing they would become independent rulers of their kingdoms like in the pre-British era. They argued that the government of free India should treat them as equals. It was Sardar Patel’s insight, wisdom and diplomacy that drove sense into the minds of the monarchs who agreed accession to the Indian Republic. However there were two rules - the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Nawab of Junagarh- continued to resist. Altough, the repeated fruitless negotiations pointed to a show might by use of military force the Sardar persisted with his tactful dealings, finally winning over both the rulers without bloodshed.