Vallabhbhai Patel, well known as Sardar Patel, was an Indian lawyer and statesman who served as a leader of the Indian National Congress throughout the independence struggle.
He was born on October 31, 1875, in Nadiad, Gujarat, India, and died on December 15, 1950, in Bombay [now Mumbai].
He was deputy prime minister, minister of home affairs, minister of information, and minister of states during India’s first three years after independence.
For the tenacity and determination, Sardar Vallabhai Patel has been called the “Iron Man of India.”
He was born in a traditional Hindu household and went to elementary and high schools in Karamasad and Petlad, but he was primarily self-taught.
In 1900, he created an independent district pleader’s office in Godhra, then moved to Borsad two years later.
Patel built a name for himself as a lawyer by presenting a compelling case in a clear and concise manner, interrogating police witnesses and British courts.
Patel lost his wife, who had given him a son and a daughter, in 1908, and remained a widower for the rest of his life.
In August 1910, Patel came to London to study law at the Middle Temple, intending to pursue his legal career. He studied diligently there and achieved excellent grades on his final tests.
In February 1913, he returned to India and settled in Ahmadabad, where he quickly rose through the ranks of the Ahmadabad profession to become the foremost criminal law barrister.
He was indifferent about Indian political activities until 1917.
Patel was the first Indian municipal commissioner of Ahmadabad from 1917 to 1924, and its elected municipal president from 1924 to 1928. Patel first made his mark in 1918, when he organized mass protests in Kaira, Gujarat, by peasants, farmers, and landowners against the Bombay government’s decision to collect the full annual revenue taxes despite crop failures caused by heavy rains.
In 1928, Patel successfully led the Bardoli landowners in their fight against rising taxes. He was given the title of Sardar (“leader”) for his successful leadership of the Bardoli struggle, and he became regarded as a nationalist leader throughout India.
At the time of the 1930 Salt Satyagraha, Sardar Patel was condemned to three months in prison. Sardar Patel presided over the Indian National Congress session in Karachi in 1931.
He participated in Mahatma Gandhi’s Civil Disobedience Movement and was detained by British police in 1940.
He had been imprisoned for nine months at the time. During his time in prison, he lost over 20 pounds.
Sardar Patel was arrested for the third time during the Quit India Movement in 1942, and he was imprisoned at the fort in Ahmednagar from 1942 to 1945.
In the 1937 elections, he was the leader of the Congress Party, and he was a leading contender for the position of Congress President. However, he withdrew his nomination, and Jawaharlal Nehru was elected instead.
Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel was a pivotal figure in India’s fight for independence.
In honor of his birthday, the Indian government inaugurated the world’s tallest statue, the ‘Statue of Unity,’ on October 31, 2018. The statue lies on the bank of the Sardar Sarovar Dam near Vadodara, Gujarat, at a height of 182 meters (597 feet).
Image Source: daily excelsior