Updated May 30, 2023
The Iron Man of India
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel earned the title “Iron Man of India” due to his mighty and energetic role as an Indian freedom warrior. He actively participated in the Indian Freedom Movement, making significant contributions towards our nation’s attainment of independence. His enthusiastic involvement benefited the movement greatly, and he emerged as one of the most illustrious and well-known leaders of the Indian Independence Movement.
So, let’s talk about his voyage, including the origin of his nickname – Sardar Patel, his accomplishments, and his contributions to the cause for Indian independence.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s Early Life and Education
He was born on October 31, 1875, to Jhaverbhai Patel, and Ladba spent his entire life in Nadiad and came from a landowning family that could support itself.
He worked hard and saved money after qualifying from Nadiad High School to pursue a law degree. Instead, after receiving a British law education, he became a barrister. His wife Jhaverben gave birth to a girl in 1903 and a son in 1905, making their family grow to four. He moved to Godhra with his family, where he joined the bar, cleared his test, and practiced law for several years.
Who Bestowed the Title of “Sardar” to Vallabhbhai Patel?
In 1928, the ladies of the Bardoli Satyagraha gave birth to the term “Sardar,” which in some other Indian languages is a title for a chief or leader and is popular in Gujarati. An event in Gujarat, known as the Bardoli Satyagraha, is a pivotal moment in the Indian Independence Movement’s civil disobedience and uprising history.
- After years of floods and hunger, the farmers in the region mentioned above experienced severe financial problems. They subsequently requested a tax reduction from the Governor of the Bombay Presidency; however, they had to pay unwillingly 30% more than that.
- The farmers pleaded with Vallabhbhai Patel to lead them in revolt when this injustice left them unable to provide for their families or themselves. Patel initially informed them, nevertheless, that failing to pay taxes could result in the seizure of their farms and possessions.
- Under Patel’s guidance, the farmers of Bardoli stood together, prepared to face the worst, and were determined to combat this injustice without resorting to violence. As a result, the British Raj vowed they would end the uprising when the farmers discontinued paying their duties.
- The government immediately auctioned off farms and homes after sending in collectors to frighten the farmers or forcefully confiscate them. To purchase the property, however, no one from Gujarat or elsewhere in India showed up.
- One village defied the others and paid taxes, leading to a boycott of that community. Furthermore, even if someone purchased the farmers’ confiscated fields, they could not hire labor to work on them.
- The British Raj forcefully accepted the requirements of the farmers when Indian members of the government in Bombay and across India began to resign from their positions and support them.
Contribution to India’s Independence Movement
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel became more involved in the fight for Indian independence after meeting M K Gandhi in October 1917. In Gujarat, he participated in the Satyagraha against the atrocities committed by the British before joining the Indian National Congress. Later, he collaborated closely with Gandhiji and actively engaged in the 1942 Quit India Movement as a volunteer.
During the campaigns for India’s independence, Patel significantly contributed to bringing the country’s people together. After that, however, his first and only goal became the impulse of patriotism and the desire to drive the British out of Indian Territory.
Contribution to Constitution
Patel won a seat in Bombay’s Constituent Assembly on behalf of the Congress Party. He participated in the crucial Advisory Committee and was more engaged in Committee stages than in plenary discussions. His contributions to the talks occurred early in creating the Constitution. At the same time, the Assembly considered the interim recommendations of the Sub-committees on Fundamental Rights and Minority Rights.
Contribution After the Independence
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was instrumental in integrating India after the country gained its independence. He urged the princely state leaders to merge and become a part of One India – One Nation by going to distant locations and border regions. After India gained independence, he joined as its first home minister and the head of its armed forces. He then rose to become India’s first Deputy Prime Minister. He was one of the three leaders that oversaw India’s government from 1947 to 1950.
Demise and Legacy of Sardar Vallabbhai Patel
Around mid 1950, his health worsened, bringing him to Mumbai in December. He passed away on December 15, 1950, after a second heart attack. 1980 the Sardar Patel National Memorial was inaugurated at Ahmedabad’s Moti Shahi Mahal. He was honored with a massive dam named the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat on the River Narmada. In addition, Patel is honored by having his name attached to the international airport in Ahmedabad and several educational institutions.
In 1991, the highest civilian honor in India, the Bharat Ratna, was given to him posthumously. From 2014, the country will commemorate Patel’s birthday on October 31 as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas, or National Unity Day.
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