Popularly known as the ‘Iron Man of India’ or ‘Bismarck of India’, Sardar Patel is among the most influential political icons of India. The first deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of independent India, Patel was instrumental in the unification of 555 princely states and setting up a democratic federal set up in the country. His role in the formation of modern All India Services is also imperative. Patel also played a key role in the freedom struggle rubbing shoulders with the Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. It would be no exaggeration if we label him as the chief architect of independent India who sailed us through turbulent times with his rock-solid leadership.
13. PATEL FATHER SERVED FOR RAANI JHANSI
Patel was born in a peasant family to a father who had served in the army of the Queen of Jhansi. He worked in fields with his father and observed a day-long fast twice a month.
12. WAS TITLED ‘SARDAR’
In 1928, he mobilized people of the Bardoli district, which was hit by famine and a 30 percent increase in taxes. The satyagraha led to the British giving into their demands and he was then bestowed with the title ‘Sardar (leader) by his colleagues.
11. OPPOSED EXISTENCE OF RSS
A fact that very few Indians know if at all, that the first Home Minister of independent India advocated banning Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). The hard-line Hindu faction that was headed by Golwalkar during was considered as communal poison (that was allegedly responsible for taking away the life of Mahatma Gandhi) and he admitted this openly often to the press too.
10. LOVED HIS WIFE
His wife Jhaverba passed away when he was only 33 years old, but he loved her deeply and so, never remarried.
9. STEPPED DOWN FOR NEHRU
During Congress elections in 1946, thirteen out of sixteen states chose Sardar Patel as their president, who was the more popular candidate and would have eventually become the first Prime Minister of independent India.
But upon Gandhi’s request, he stepped down as a candidate and endorsed Jawaharlal Nehru instead.
8. INTEGRATE OUR NATION
He is credited for the political integration of over 500 princely states into the independent Indian Union.
7. USED NECESSARY FORCE IN HYDERABAD
The Hyderabad region, which was ruled by the Nizams, wasn’t ready to become a part of India and wanted to remain independent. Pakistan had got a hint of this and wanted to make the most of the situation but before it could reach that point, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel flew down to Hyderabad and informed the Nizam that the city was surrounded by the police of the India Republic and got him to surrender.
6. SUPPORTED PAKISTAN’S FORMATION
Contrary to popular belief, Vallabhbhai Patel was a staunch supporter of dividing the country into two to curb the rising threat of revolting Muslims led by Muhammed Ali Jinnah.
5. ENSURED OUR BASIC RIGHTS
He played a crucial part in forming certain aspects of India’s constitutional system like Fundamental rights, tribal affairs and minority welfare. He influenced and approved these decisions in his capacity as the chairman of these various committees.
4. CLASH WITH NEHRU
He along with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the helm of affairs post independence, which meant a lot of work. Legend has it that in a particular altercation between the two, Nehru called him communal following which he just picked up his bags and left. The two never spoke after this.
3. FRAMED THE IAS
He was a key part of framing the Indian Administrative Services, for which, the country still is thankful to him. The system has been the backbone of India’s growth and it still remains that.
2. FEATURED IN BOOKS AND FILMS
He finds a mention in Shashi Tharoor’s masterpiece – The Great Indian Novel – where the character of Vidur Hastinapura is based on him. There are many famous biopics of him too.
1. THE STATUE OF UNITY
In the latest development, a statue of the great man is being constructed in Gujarat and this will be the tallest statue in the world once it is completed at a height of 597 feet. Known as the statue of unity, this will be spread over an area of 12 kilometres and will have an artificial lake around it too.