Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel is famously known as Vallabhbhai Patel or Sardar Patel. He was India’s first deputy prime minister and also served as the Home Minister of India from 1947 to 1950. Sardar Vallabhai Patel made significant contributions as an Indian Nationalist before independence and is known as one of the most prominent freedom fighters to date.
This great Indian leader was born in the Leva Patidar caste on the 31st of October 1875. His family had a well-established landlord. He did attend schools like Karamasad and Petlad for early education but was mainly self-taught.
Vallabhbhai Patel was married early at the age of 16. He even completed his matriculation after that at the age of 22. Also, after passing the district pleader’s exam soon, he stepped in to practice law. As a lawyer, this young Indian fiercely challenged the police witnesses and British judges to present his case.
In August 1910, he went to Middle Temple London to enhance his knowledge of Law. He returned to India in 1913 and practised law in Ahmedabad as a famous barrister unaware of the Indian political activities.
Source: Indian National Congress
In 1917 Patel was elected as the Sanitation Commissioner of Ahmedabad. It was in this year that he became familiar with and rather swooned by Mahatma Gandhi and his principles of Independence. During the Kheda Satyagraha in 1918, his affiliation with Mahatma Gandhi deepened. As the Rowlatt Act followed this, there was much to contribute to the freedom struggle. Hence, Vallabhbhai Patel left his law practice to join various movements such as the Non-Co-operation movement, Bardoli Satyagrah and the Indian National Movement.
Role in India’s National Movement
The Indian National Movement busied Sardar Patel with a series of activities. The arrangements for the congress-declared motto of Purna Swaraj had to be made. There was also the boycott of the Simon Commission during this time and the great Salt Satyagrah organised by Gandhi ji.
Vallabhbhai and other freedom fighters were central to the whole movement. In fact, he was the first National Leader to be arrested during the Salt Satyagraha, although he had not directly breached any salt law. He also presided over the 46th INC session to rectify the Gandhi-Irwin pact.
It led to the participation of Congress in the Round-Table Conference. He was jailed along with Gandhiji for 16 months after the conference failed.
He was the president of the Congress Parliamentary Sub-Committee at the time of the provincial elections in 1935. After the declaration of war on the part of India by the British and the Quit India movement, this great leader was again detained on August 9, 1942.
Role in India Post Independence
After the war, as the constitutional solution for India’s governance was being figured out, Vallbhhai Patel was a part of many Congress meetings as a chief negotiator. He became the Deputy Prime Minister after independence and looked over Home and States affairs and the Information and Broadcasting portfolios.
He was part of discussions on the integration of states into the Union of India. His expertise brought down the number of Princely States from 562 to 26 administrative units and set up a democracy for the Indians. He became the Minister of Home Affairs and looked over the matters expertly. He even took over to maintain law and order after the partition of India dealing with the rehabilitation of the refugees.