Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

 

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, popularly known as a ‘Man of Steel’, was born on October 31, 1875 at Nadiad, Gujarat. He passsed his high school studies in Nadiad and came out with a strong desire to become a lawyer. Because of financial reasons he could not join any school of law so he studied at home and passed the law exam with flying colors.

Sardar started his legal practice in Godhra and at the age of 36, he went to England for further studies. He returned to India in 1913 and started his practice in Ahemdabad. He soon became a successful lawyer but his dream and career soon flourished.

Inspired by the work and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, he decided to join the freedom struggle. His first attempt was to fight for the cause of peasants in Kheda, Bardoli and other parts of Gujarat who were asked to pay heavy taxes to the British Government. Patel, under the leadership of Gandhi Ji, launched non-violent Civil

Disobedience Movement against the payment of raised taxes. The Government tried to suppress the revolt but unfortunately could not do so. Finally, the taxes were suspended and thereafter everyone addressed Patel as Sardar. Further, he was also involved in Salt Satyagraha in Nagpur and Quit India Movement in 1942. He also opposed alcoholism, untouchability, caste discrimination and violence. In 1931, he was elected as the President of Indian National Congress.

After independence he was appointed as the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India. He had served the country during the tenure but Gandhi Ji’s death gave him a major heart attack and he died on December 15, 1950.

Patel was officially awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour posthumously in 1991. Patel's birthday, 31 October, is celebrated nationally in India as Sardar Jayanti. The Sardar Patel National Memorial was established in 1980 at the Moti Shahi Mahal in Ahmedabad. It comprises a museum, a gallery of portraits and historical pictures and a library, which stores important documents and books associated with Patel and his life. Amongst the exhibits are many of Patel's personal effects and relics from various periods of his personal and political life. He appeared on the cover page of TIME Magazine in its Jan. 1947 publication.

 
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