Bishwa Nath Singh:
The grateful nation pays floral tribute and respectful homage to he "Iron Man of India" Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who had died in Bombay on December 15,1950 leaving behind a united India to condole his passing away. . It would not be out of place to record that when Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru became the Prime Minister in September 1946 a...nd Sardar Patel had held the portfolios of Home and Information and Broadcasting. On August 15, 1947, India became free, but only after Pakistan was created. When Pakistani infiltrators attacked Kashmir, Sardar Patel proposed withholding Pakistan's share of cash balances left by the British. Gandhi Ji felt such an act would be morally wrong and went on a fast unto death. Sardar Patel tried to prevail over Gandhi Ji but he finally relented in order to save the life of the "Father of the Nation." Sardar Patel handled the portfolio of Home Minister, Minister of States and Minister of Information and Broadcasting. As Home Minister he had to deal with communal disturbances that continued to rock the nation after partition. He transferred army units from Pune and Madras to deal with the disturbances in Delhi. He had the army move ten thousand Muslims to Red Fort to protect them from the riots. He handled the integration of all the princely states into the Indian Union with great expertise. Under the Cabinet Mission, all the princely states had the right to join Pakistan, India or remain independent. Sardar Patel declared that "we are all knit together by bonds of blood and feelings Therefore, it is better for us to make laws sitting together as friends." He dealt with Hyderabad and Junaghad firmly when these states tried to join Pakistan or remain independent. Gandhi Ji was full of praise. As time passed, differences in opinion formed between Sardar Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru. Gandhi Ji wanted both to work together for the betterment of India. On January 30, 1948, Sardar Patel met Gandhi Ji who expressed his wish that Sardar Patel work side by side with Nehru. The same day Gandhi Ji was assassinated. Sardar Patel was crushed. He was further hurt when he was criticized for not protecting Gandhi Ji. Sardar Patel wanted to post plain-cloth policemen at the Gandhi Ji’s prayer meetings, but Gandhi Ji had forbidden it. After Gandhi Ji’s death, Sardar Patel acted as Gandhi Ji had wished and worked closely with Nehru. Sardar Patel formed the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and other Central Services to assist in the process of nation Let us pay our respectful homage to him on his death anniversary and offer our humble obeisance’s to his lotus feet to ssel his bliss for well-being of all living –being of this universe!
(Photo of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel )
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Bishwa Nath Singh :
Vallabhbhai Patel was born on October 31, 1875, in a farmer's family in Nadiad, Gujarat. His father, Zaverbhai, had served in the army of Jhansi ki Rani, and his mother, Ladbai, was a deeply religious woman.
Vallabhbhai's initial schooling ...was in Gujarati. His brother Vithalbhai, after completing middle school, had enrolled himself in English tutorial classes in a nearby town. Vallabhbhai followed suit. Vallabhbhai's superior organizational skills became evident while he was in high school at Petlad when he coordinated the entire campaign for a poor teacher who he thought deserved a seat on the local municipal committee. Vallabhbhai persuaded his fellow students to work for the campaign. So impressively was the campaign handled that the teacher was elected over the rich local businessman. Vallabhbhai matriculated from Nadiad High School in 1897. Vallabhbhai was married to Zaverbai in 1891. The couple had two children-a daughter Maniben, born in April of 1904, and a son Dayabhai, born in November of 1905. Zaverbai died in January of 1909. Vallabhbhai sailed for England in August of 1910 to study law. He qualified as a barrister in 1913 and returned to India to a lucrative practice in Ahmedabad. He joined the Gujarat Club and took to western dressing and a comfortable lifestyle. Gandhi Ji started coming to the Gujarat Club to give lectures. He came again and again, propagating the idea of his newly wielded weapon of "satyagraha" or truth force. Vallabhbhai was impressed with Gandhi Ji and slowly began to adopt his view. The relationship between Gandhiji and Vallabhbhai was concretely defined when Gandhi Ji was elected the President of the Gujarat Sabha and Vallabhbhai the Secretary, in 1917. It was a relationship of a guru (teacher) and disciple. Vallabhbhai got his first opportunity to utilize Gandhi Ji’s philosophy of satyagraha in 1918 for the farmers of Kaira who had lost their crops to heavy rains and floods that year. The government disregarded the farmers' misery and insisted on collecting land revenue. Vallabhbhai organized the No Tax campaign on peaceful, Gandhian lines. The government held out and began confiscating land and what little crops and cattle the farmers still had. Vallabhbhai, now decked in a dhoti, kurta and cap urged the farmers not to buckle. The government eventually relented and returned the confiscated property. This was the first victory of satyagraha for Vallabhbhai. He was jubilantVallabhbhai took to spinning the charkha, boycotted foreign goods and clothes and burned his foreign possessions on public bonfires. He even discarded the western dresses he once so coveted. There was no stopping Vallabhbhai. He participated in the Nagpur flag satyagraha from May to August in 1923 in protest against the stopping of a procession which carried the national flag. In 1928, he once again came to the rescue of the farmers, this time it was in Bardoli, which was then a part of Surat district. The Government increased the tax on the land. He urged the farmers not to pay, declaring the hike unjust. He prepared the farmers for satyagraha. The farmers refused to pay the tax hike. In retaliation, the Government confiscated their land, cattle and crops and arrested hundreds of farmers. There was a mass exodus from Bardoli to escape the Government's atrocities. The farmers that remained continued the satyagraha. He told the farmers not to sell milk, vegetables and necessities to any person unless they produced a chit assigned by the local satyagraha committee. The "peaceful" war raged for six months. Finally Vithalbhai, Vallabhbhai's brother, who was President of the Central Legislative Assembly, brokered a comprise. The Government agreed to hold an inquiry into the justification of the tax hike, released the satyagrahis and returned all confiscated items back to the farmers. So pleased was Gandhi Ji with Vallabhbhai's effort that he gave him the title of "Sardar" or leader. On March 12, 1930, Sardar Patel left for Dandi to prepare for Gandhi Ji’sSalt satyagraha. He went to villages to organize for the food and lodging of the marchers. In every village he went, he made stirring speeches, rousing the people to join the march to Dandi. The Government swooped down and arrested him while he was in the village of Ras. It was his first prison sentence. He was released after the Gandhi-Irwin pact of March 1931. That year he presided over the Congress session in Karachi. Gandhi Ji sailed for London to attend the Round Table Conference in 1931. He regularly updated Gandhi Ji on the situation in India. Ironically, the British Government in India stepped up repression just when the Conference was going on in London. Gandhi Ji was arrested on his return from the Conference. Sardar Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru were also imprisoned. Sardar Patel was imprisoned with Mahatma Gandhi in Yeravada Jail, Pune, where they spent sixteen months together. While Sardar Patel was in jail, his mother and brother died. He refused to be released to attend to their last rites. In 1937, elections for the provincial governments were held under the Government of India Act of 1935. Sardar Patel was elected Chairman to the Parliamentary Sub-Committee which was to select Congress candidates and organize the elections. Sardar Patel's hard work resulted in the Congress forming majority Governments in most Provinces. All the Congress Ministries resigned when the British arbitrarily included India in the war effort against Germany and Japan. Gandhi Ji had planned an individual satyagraha to protest India's inclusion in the war without being consulted. Sardar Patel was among the first batch of leaders to offer satyagraha. Arrests of the participants followed. On August 8, 1942, the Congress and Gandhi Ji passed the "Quit India" resolution, calling upon the British to withdraw from India. The Government responded with arrests of Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi Ji and other eminent Congress leaders. Sardar Patel was imprisoned in Ahmednagar Fort while Gandhi Ji was kept in Aga Khan Palace. On March 23, 1946, the Labor Prime Minister of Britain arrived in India to assure independence for India. An Interim Government was proposed and Sardar Patel once again was asked to handle the campaign for the Congress. Again the Sardar delivered a very good result. The Congress won thumping majorities in almost all provinces. Jawaharlal Nehru became Prime Minister in September 1946 and Sardar Patel held the portfolios of Home and Information and Broadcasting. On August 15, 1947, India became free, but only after Pakistan was created. When Pakistani infiltrators attacked Kashmir, Sardar Patel proposed withholding Pakistan's share of cash balances left by the British. Gandhi Ji felt such an act would be morally wrong and went on a fast unto death. Sardar Patel tried to prevail over Gandhi Ji but he finally relented in order to save the life of the "Father of the Nation." Sardar Patel handled the portfolio of Home Minister, Minister of States and Minister of Information and Broadcasting. As Home Minister he had to deal with communal disturbances that continued to rock the nation after partition. He transferred army units from Pune and Madras to deal with the disturbances in Delhi. He had the army move ten thousand Muslims to Red Fort to protect them from the riots. He handled the integration of all the princely states into the Indian Union with great expertise. The "Iron Man of India" died in Bombay on December 15,1950. He left behind a united India to condole his passing away.Let us pay our respectful homage to him on his death anniversary and offer our humble obeisance’s to his lotus feet to ssel his bliss for well-being of all living –being of this universe!