Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Why Does He Deserve a Statue?

“Many were prepared to follow me, but I could not make up my mind as to who should be my deputy commander. Then I thought of Vallabhbhai"

- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Kutch to Kohima, Kargil, or Kanyakumari.

If we can travel freely today across the beautiful and bountiful lands of India.

It is because of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

“History will call him the builder and consolidator of new India.”
- Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

Key Moments in the Life of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Civil Disobedience Movement

Earned the title ‘Sardar’ at the Bardoli Satyagraha in Gujarat in 1928.

Quit India Movement

Lead an all-out rebellion to galvanize the people of India in 1942.

Political Integration of India

Helped integrate over 500 princely states into the Union of India in 1947.

Known as the ‘Ironman’ of India

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was instrumental in India’s independence struggle.

And then for the integration of over 500 princely states into the Union of India.

  1. When the British finally left, they left behind India, Pakistan, and over 562 princely states in the territory colonized by them over nearly 200 years.
  2. All princely states were given the option of either joining India, Pakistan, or remaining independent.
  3. While most states including Bikaner and Baroda were quick to join the Union of India.
  4. Others like Kashmir and Manipur were indecisive for months.
  5. While Junagadh (now in Gujarat) acceded to Pakistan. Travancore (now in Kerala) declared independence, and the Hyderabad State, located in the heart of India (now in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra) wanted to follow suit.
  6. It was Sardar Patel who convinced 559 of 562 princely states to join the Union of India. He did so with pure persuasion and statesmanship – a stupendous task achieved without any bloodshed, with no parallel in recorded history.
  7. Only three states; Jammu & Kashmir, Junagadh, and Hyderabad did not willingly merge into the Union of India.

"Here is the man whom I once hated. Here is the man whom I was later afraid of. Here is the man whom I admire and love."
- Maharaja of Gwalior

“There were many who used to think that a diverse country like India can never remain united. It will fall apart.

But, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel showed how it is done. We should learn how to grow from strength to strength, how to always stay united.

Sardar Patel used Kautilya's wisdom and Shivaji Maharaj's bravery to achieve the great feat of uniting India after partition.

He did something that was unparalleled. From Kutch to Kohima, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Sardar Patel united the country.

It is because of him that we can travel to all the great sites and meet the great people of all the states within India without a visa”

– Narendra Damodardas Modi at the inauguration of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Statue.

While there have been many rebels and many statesmen in this world... it’s rare for history to observe a man who was successful as both.

"Present-day India owes an immeasurable debt of gratitude to the vision, tact, diplomacy, and pragmatic approach of the Sardar.

In preventing balkanization of the country and merger of more than 560 princely states with the Union of India.

What makes this stupendous integration most remarkable is that it was achieved without any bloodshed.”

M. Venkaiah Naidu at the inauguration of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Statue.

Photo Journey

 The Life of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel - The Man Behind the Statue of Unity

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was born in 1875, attended school in Borsad, Petlad, and Nadiad, before practicing law in Godhra, Gujarat.

Sardar Patel during the Kheda Satyagraha of 1918 (left), during the Borsad Satyagrah of 1923 (centre), and at the Bardoli Satyagraha in 1928 (right) where he was bestowed the title of 'Sardar'.

Earning the title ‘Sardar’

It was women of Bardoli who bestowed the title Sardar for the first time, which in Gujarati and most Indian languages means Chief or Leader.

  1. The Bardoli Satyagraha in Gujarat is considered a major episode of civil disobedience and revolt in the Indian Independence Movement.
  2. After suffering from years of floods and famines, the farmers of the region were facing grave financial difficulties. They petitioned and appealed to the Governor of Bombay Presidency to reduce their taxes but were asked instead to pay 30% more.
  3. Being left with nearly nothing to feed themselves and their families after-tax, the farmers now appealed to Vallabhbhai Patel to lead them to revolt. Patel first reminded them that refusing to pay taxes may lead to their lands and property being confiscated and them being sent to jail.
  4. Prepared for the worst, the farmers of Bardoli Taduka stood united and were ready to fight the Government’s injustice in a completely non-violent manner, as lead by Patel. As the villagers stopped paying their taxes, the British Raj declared that they will crush the revolt.
  5. Sending in collectors to terrorize and forcibly seize property from the villagers, the Government soon began to auction lands and houses. But not a single man from Gujarat or anywhere from across India came to buy the lands.
  6. One village did break the unity and paid taxes, so they were ostracized. If someone did buy the confiscated lands, they could no longer find the labor to work those lands.
  7. When Indian members of the Government in Bombay and across India started resigning office and expressed open support for the farmers – the Raj had no choice but to agree to the terms of the farmers.

Sardar Patel at a procession in Ahmedabad celebrating the victory of the Bardoli Satyagraha in 1928.

Not only were all confiscated lands restored, but all taxes were also waived for the year, with the 30% increase in taxes pushed further by another two years.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel with all the members of the Congress Working Committee in 1934.

Sardar Patel addressing a public meeting at Girgaum Chowpatty, Bombay to elaborate on the Wardha Resolution of Congress Working Committee in 1938.

While Patel credited Mahatma Gandhi's teachings and the farmers' undying resolve for their victory, people across India recognized his vital leadership.

World War 2 and the Quit India Movement

Sardar Patel, Mahatma Gandhi, and Sarat Chandra Bose at the Special Session of the All India Congress Committee in 1946.

Sardar Patel accompanying Mahatma Gandhi in 1946.

While many leading freedom fighters initially criticized Mahatma Gandhi's proposal for an all-out campaign of civil disobedience to force the British to quit India, Patel was its most fervent supporter.

Sardar Patel with Lord Mountbatten and Lady Mountbatten in 1947.

  1. Convinced that the British would leave India as they had Singapore and Burma, Sardar Patel urged the campaign to start without any delay.
  2. Knowing the British were in no hurry to leave India, he favoured an all-out rebellion that would galvanise the people of India. He argued that such a rebellion would force the British to concede that they can no longer continue colonial rule in India, and thus speed the transfer of power to Indians.
  3. Owing to his views and actions, Sardar Patel was arrested nearly 10 times between 1930 and 1945. Each time after release, many times in poor health, he gave highly charged emotional speeches to large crowds across India - asking his countrymen to refuse to pay taxes and to participate in civil disobedience, mass protests, and a shutdown of all civil services.

Sardar Patel standing next to Lord Mountbatten announcing the 'Mountbatten Plan' for India's independence and partition in New Delhi in 1947.

“The Governor of Burma boasts in London that they left Burma only after reducing everything to dust. So you promise the same thing to India? You refer in your radio broadcasts and newspapers to the government established in Burma by Japan as a puppet government? What sort of government do you have in Delhi now?

When France fell before the Nazi onslaught, in the midst of total war, Mr. Churchill offered union with England to the French. That was indeed a stroke of inspired statesmanship. But when it comes to India? Oh no! Constitutional changes in the midst of a war? Absolutely unthinkable."

- Sardar Patel

Sardar Patel standing in the wings as Jawaharlal Nehru is sworn in by Lord Mountbatten as India's first prime minister in 1947.

Sardar Patel taking oath as the first Home Minister as well as the first Deputy Prime Minister of India in 1947.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in his office as the first Home Minister of India in 1947.

The Political Integration of India

"The problem of the States is so difficult that you alone can solve it" – Mahatma Gandhi

Refugees Traveling to India and Pakistan by Train during the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.

Sardar Patel at a Press Conference in New Delhi Reviewing the Constitutional Progress of the Indian States in 1948.

Joy and Delight on the Streets of Junagadh After Voting to be a part of the Union of India in 1948.

"There is no desire left for me to live in this world" - Sardar Patel paying silent tribute to Mahatma Gandhi in 1948.

Photo of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel making an appeal for peace and unity in Patna in 1948.

Sardar Patel walking into the Saurashtra Union Legislative Assembly after the integration of Saurashtra (now in Gujarat) into the Union of India in 1948.

Sardar Patel with the ruler of Patiala inaugurating the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU), formed by the integration of eight Princely States in 1948.

“My Deepest Sympathy With the People of Bengal in Their Woes & Afflictions” - Sardar Patel addressing the people at Calcutta Maidan in 1948.

Sardar Patel Attending the Press Conference on the Financial Settlement with Pakistan in 1948.

In Junagadh located in Gujarat, Patel first showed force, sending the army to occupy three principalities of Junagadh, demanding that the Nawab accedes to India.

Hyderabad, which was the largest of all princely states, also included parts of present-day Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra at the time.

When the Nizam decided to hold out against India and organized attacks on Indian soil, Patel launched Operation Polo – forcefully securing and integrating Hyderabad into the Union of India in just four days. 

Sardar Patel being welcomed by the Nizam of Hyderabad after the Success of Operation Polo in 1948.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel addressing a public meeting in Bardoli in 1949.

Sardar Patel Addressing a Press Conference Explaining About India's Future Relations with the Commonwealth in 1949.

Sardar Patel Addressing a Gathering at the First Death Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi in 1949.

Sardar Patel as a Part of India's First Cabinet of Ministers in 1950.

Sardar Patel and Other Members of the Constituent Assembly Signing the Constitution of India in 1950.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel addressing at Public Meeting at Trivandrum in 1950.

Photo showing the death procession of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Mumbai in 1950.

Final immersion of the sacred ashes of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel by his son Dahyabhai in 1950.

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