What comes to your mind when you first hear the word “Iron Man”? You think of a guy in an iron suit of armor saving the world from supernatural villains, well India has got its own iron man. And it is not a guy in a suit of armor but a guy with high willpower, as strong as iron, therefore the title iron man of India.
Sardar Vallabhai Patel (31st October – 15th December 1950) was an Indian lawyer and statesman, and the first deputy prime minister of India. He died before completion of his 5-year tenure (15th August 1947 – 15 December 1950), he was also the Minister of Home Affairs and the Supreme Commander-in-chief of the Indian Army. Vallabhai Patel was born and raised in Gujarat. He was a successfully employed lawyer. He was often addressed as “Sardar Patel”, Sardar means chief, in Hindi, Urdu, and Persian.
Lesser known facts about Sardar Vallabhai Patel
- Vallabhai Patel acted as a temporary supreme commander in chief of Indian army during Indo-Pak war and Political Integration of India.
- He was the leader of Indian National Congress and a founding father of the Republic of India, and led the task of forming a united India, and successfully integrating a newly independent nation.
- While at his position as home minister and deputy prime minister, he made efforts for refugees fleeing from Punjab and Delhi.
- He played an integral part in spreading satyagraha in Gujarat. He went village by village tour in Kheda district, into convincing villagers to revolt against paying taxes.
- During the revolt, he helped farmers in hiding their valuables and protected them during raids.
- His efforts were successful, and the government finally agreed to negotiate a deal, in which they did not have to pay taxes for a year, and the tax rate was also reduced.
- Vallabhai Patel supported Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement and contributed by recruiting more than 300,000 members and raised over 1.5 million in funds.
- When Patel was elected as Ahmedabad’s municipal president, during his tenure, he identified problems and brought improvement in infrastructure, increased the supply of electricity, and extended drainage and sanitation system throughout the city.
Role of Vallabhai Patel
- While Gandhi was in prison, Patel led the satyagraha in Nagpur, 1923, he prepared thousands of volunteers, from all over the country to revolt against the law banning the raising of the Indian flag.
- Patel negotiated a settlement, which involved the release of prisoners and hoisting of the national flag in public.
- Sardar Vallabhai Patel played a significant role in uniting India as one, he issued a statement, requesting all the princes of India to transfer their control of the defence, foreign affairs and communications to the Congress.
By August 1947, all except Hyderabad, Junagarh, and Kashmir assented to India, after that Patel, carried the threefold process of assimilation, centralization, and unification of states. The state was then combined to form a union, and that union was then amalgamated with the Union of India.