On the eve of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birthday today, we revisit the life of the ‘Iron Man Of India’, proudly.
Here are 10 facts about Sardar Patel’s life that portray the life he had:
1. He was born in a simple family:
Sardar Patel was born to Jhaverbhai Patel and Laadbai. Jhaverbhai Patel was a Gurjar farmer and Laadbai was a simple housewife. He was born in Nadiad (now in Gujarat, then in Bombay Presidency) on October 31, 1875. According to a book titled ‘Patel: A Life’ written by Rajmohan Gandhi, Patel’s official date of birth was not recorded. 31st October was mentioned in his matriculation papers.
2. He refused to go to college, but became a successful barrister:
Patel refused to attend college due to a financial crisis after he finished high school from N.K. High School, Petlad at the age of 22 in 1896. He educated himself for around 3 years by borrowing books and passed the state examination (district pleader’s exam) for law with flying colours. It was only in 1913 that Patel returned to India after obtaining higher education from Inns Of Court, London, England and became a barrister in just 30 months, at the age of 36. He first sent his elder brother for higher studies abroad from the money he had earned from his practice as a lawyer in India. Most people thought that Patel was unambitious and suitable for a common job, until he proved them wrong.
3. He married Jhaverba and had two children:
Jhaverba was Sardar Patel’s wife and he had two children, Maniben, who was in born in 1904 and Dahyabhai who was born in 1905. Patel’s wife passed away in 1909 after she was very sick. Patel was shocked after his wife’s sudden death. According to India Times, the news of his wife’s death was given to him when he was questioning a witness in court. Instead of breaking down, Patel continued the questioning until the end. Right after, he admitted his children at St.Mary’s School, Bombay and left for England (to become a barrister). He returned to India in 1913.
4. His political career began after he got elected to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation:
After returning to India, Patel had a flourishing practice in Ahmedabad. He stood for the Municipal Elections and was elected in 1917. As per various sources, he was offered a job in the British government many times but he turned it down.
5. Patel met Gandhiji around 1915:
Gandhiji was giving a lecture in Ahmedabad when the Swadeshi movement was at its peak. That is when Patel found his ideas very appealing and decided to join the freedom movement. He switched to Khadi and actively began involvement in politics.
6. He advocated for the farmers and that is how he got the title of ‘Sardar’:
The injustice committed by the British on the farmers was increasing drastically. The government had decided to confiscate the lands of these farmers – it is Sardar who advocated for their cause and was imprisoned many times. It is the farmers who gave him the title of ‘Sardar’. In 1942, he was sent to Ahmednagar jail with other leaders post the 1942 Quit India movement.
7. We owe a ‘united India’ to Patel:
Sardar Patel united the country as we know it after India achieved independence. Uniting the country was not easy and Sardar was the only person who could have convinced the Nizam of Hyderabad and Nawad of Junagadh especially to join the country. It is due to this that he is known as the ‘Iron Man Of India’. In 1946, he also stepped down in favour of Jawaharlal Nehru to avoid a political battle, right after Gandhiji passed away.
8. He had beaten death multiple times:
On March 29, 1949 Patel’s plane had an engine failure and there was no radio contact with the authorities. An emergency landing was made in Rajasthan’s desert and Patel came out alive. He had also suffered a major heart attack a few months after Gandhiji’s death as he was very much attached to him. Patel survived this attack due to timely treatment and also due to his daughter Maniben. But on December 15, 1950, Patel couldn’t survive a cardiac arrest and passed way, leaving the entire nation in mourning.
Sardar Patel was awarded Bharat Ratna. On his birthday today, we pay homage to the national hero. Today, India celebrates Rashtriya Ekta Diwas.