1. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, born on October 31, 1875, was a political and social leader of Indiawho played a major role in the country’s struggle for independence and subsequently guided its integration into a united, independent nation.
2. As the first home minister and deputy prime minister of India, Patel organised relief for refugees in Punjab and Delhi and led efforts to restore peace across the nation.
3. Hailed as the ‘Iron Man of India,’ he is also remembered as the ‘Patron Saint’ of India’s civil servants for establishing modern all-India services.
4. He became one of the most influential leaders in Gujarat as he organised the peasants of Kheda, Borsad, and Bardoli in Gujarat in a non-violent civil disobedience movement against oppressive policies imposed by the British Raj.
5. After the Kheda Satyagrah, in 1928, when Bardoli Taluka in Gujarat suffered from major natural calamities, Sardar Patel took up cudgels on behalf of the farmers once again.
In another resounding victory over the Draconian British taxation rules, Sardar organized the farmers, told them not to pay a single paisa of tax, and fought the oppression till the British government bowed down.
6. He was then bestowed on the title of ‘Sardar’ by his co-workers.
7. Patel was also one of the earliest proponents of property rights and free enterprise in India.
8. He is renowned as the architect of Independent India, as he united all diverse 562 princely states to build the one great Republic of India.
9. Sardar Patel worked extensively against alcohol consumption, untouchability, caste discrimination and for women emancipation in Gujarat and outside.
10. At 36, Patel travelled to England and enrolled in the Middle Temple Inn, a school for barristers. He finished a 36-month course within just 30 months and topped the final examination despite having no previous college experience.
11. On receiving the news of his wife’s death, who was suffering from cancer, he finished cross-examining his witness in the courtroom, won the case, and later mourned. He never remarried in the loving memory of his wife.
12. The Iron Man of India was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1991, the highest civilian honor.
Source: India Today