It’s once-in-a-generation that a true leader is born – a doer of the kind who dares to think the unthinkable and achieve something that touches the lives of billions. Vallabhbhai Patel was one such leader – a true statesman that each Indian should be proud of.
While we have been learning about other freedom fighters and the stellar leaders India had in the post-independence era, very few Indians know who Vallabhbhai Patel was and just how gigantic & meaningful his achievements were.
1. A farmer by birth and nature, Patel managed to become a successful lawyer and ultimately, a silent icon
Sardar Patel was not from a rich family like Nehru, Gandhi and other top leaders of the time.
2. He refused to join college because of not-so-good financial conditions of the family
Patel’s father, despite having very limited means, had offered to fund his education but he decided to stay at home instead.
He borrowed books, studied at home and 3 Years later, cleared District Leader’s exam.
3. The best 1st Prime Minister India did not have
He was the 1st deputy Prime Minister. There are many theories why Vallabhbhai Patel, despite being the most suitable candidate for the top post wasn’t chosen by politicians as the 1st prime minister of the country after independence.
The story of Independent India would have been much different had Patel been the boss instead of Nehru.
4. This man united the whole lot of 565 Princely States and thus, INDIA!
It was Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who took up the hazardous, seemingly-impossible task of forging an integrated India from over 500 self-governing princely states & the British colonial provinces that were released from the British suzerainty and allocated to India in 1947!
Can you think of convincing even 1 person each from every Indian state on something (anything) today?
5. He tackled the Nizam of Hyderabad & the Nawab of Junagarh who initially did not want to join India
The mission impossible!
Sardar Patel used his priceless intellect and military forces in an absolutely perfect chemistry with frank diplomacy. This ‘Patron Saint’ made the impossible a reality.
6. Patel was to Gandhi what Vivekananda was to Ramakrishna
That’s what our current prime minister believes.
Patel had switched to khaki only because of Gandhiji, despite that he was a great admirer of Western style and fashion. Later, he even organized many bonfires of Made-in-Britain clothes and goods.
7. Unlike Nehru, Patel wasn’t an Englishman by values
He was a staunch Hindu.
Not many people know that Sardar Patel was a strong believer and had a conservative political inclination.
8. He gave up the top post just because he wanted the Congress Party to be a united entity
In 1946, when the Congress party was electing its president, Sardar Patel had the majority of people in his favor.
But when Sardar Patel came to know that Nehru had refused to work under anybody’s leadership and could split the Congress, he gladly withdrew his name!
Salutations to thee, O great patriot!
9. He was the true savior of refugees
We remember Sardar Patel for his political correctness, but his actual fortes were honesty and kindness. He proved this by not forgetting to organize respite for refugees even when he was performing the extremely important task of uniting India.
He even stood by the Muslims minority amid the entire turmoil and spoke plainly of it!
10. The Iron Man of India was given the highest civilian honor much later
It was in 1991 when Sardar Patel was conferred Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honor.
Pt. Nehru and Indira Gandhi, by the way, had got the same award much earlier and ironically, during a time they were in power. They literally awarded themselves, kind of.
11. He crafted and deployed many foolproof strategies to keep India protected
Nehru was unable to take a firm decision on the Kashmir situation; Sardar Patel had everything planned.
It was after Patel’s intervention that Indian troops moved to Kashmir on time!
12. Patel was among key players in the Constituent Assembly of India tasked with framing the constitution
13. Contrary to the popular opinion, Patel was not against the RSS
It was due to the strong opposition from Nehru and secular group in 1948 that he had to act. Here is what he later wrote to the RSS chief.
14. The true Iron Man of India with the rare nation-always-first mindset!
It was his strength of character that allowed him to refuse several significant political/statutory positions that were offered to him from time to time.
But now, the Statute of Unity would be… tall; it’d even dwarf the Statue of Liberty!
Thank you Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel! Thank you for giving us the United India we have today. And, if you are grateful for what the Iron Man did for us, please share this.