(Last Updated on : 01/11/2013)
Vallabhbhai Patel was born on October 31, 1875, at his maternal uncle's house in Nadiad, Gujarat. He belonged to a farmer's family. His father, Zaverbhai, was in the army of Jhansi ki Rani, and his mother, Ladbai, was a spiritual woman. He had four brothers (Somabhai, Narsibhai ,Vithalbhai Patel and Kashibhai)and a sister, Dahiba.
Vallabhbhai took his early education in a high school at Petlad. While he was studying in the high school he displayed his organizational and political acumen. He successfully organized a campaign with the help of his friends and helped to elect poor teacher over a rich local businessman in the local municipal committee. He passed matriculation examination from Nadiad High in 1897 at the age of 22. In 1891 at the age of 17 he married to Zaverbai. In 1909 his wife passed away. In 1910 he went to England to study law. After three years Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel came back India and started practicing at Ahmedabad. At that time he was also the member of Gujarat Club and spending his spare time lavishly.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was deeply influenced by the thoughts and philosophy of Gandhiji and started following his views. In 1917 Gandhiji was elected as the President of the Gujarat Sabha and Vallabhbhai became the Secretary. In 1918 Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel led No Tax campaign in Gandhian Satyagraha style. This campaign was raised to help the poor farmer of Kaira who were unable to pay the tax because they lost their crops due to flood. This peaceful campaign compelled the British Government to return the seized property of the farmers.
After this victory he joined the campaign for boycotting foreign goods and clothes. In 1923 Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel actively took part in the Nagpur flag Satyagraha. In 1928 he protested against the tax hike on Bardoli farmers. He again raised a peaceful campaign to support the farmer. After six months of nonstop protest the government returned the confiscated the property of poor farmers. Gandhiji was delighted with this great endeavor and bestowed him the title of "Sardar" or leader. In 1930 he participated the famous Salt Satyagraha. He arranged food and lodging for the Satyagrahis.He delivered speeches to inspire people to join the exodus to Dandi.At that time British Government imprisoned him for the first time. In 1931 he was freed after the Gandhi-Irwin pact. In this year Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was selected the president of the Congress session in Karachi. While Gandhiji was in London to attend the round table conference Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel frequently informed the situation of the country. After this conference he was incarcerated along with Gandhiji.During that time his mother and brother passed away and he was not even allowed to perform the last rites of his mother and brother.
In 1937 Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was appointed the chairman Parliamentary Sub-Committee that was responsible to select the congress candidates provincial governments elections. He worked hard for the election and Congress won in most provinces. During the Second World War Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel raised a campaign to protest the British Government's decision of India's inclusion in the war. All the Congress ministers resigned at that time and joined the campaign. The Government arrested the protesters. In 1942 he joined the "Quit India" movement. During this time he delivered electrifying speech to more than 100,000 people in Bombay.
The government again imprisoned him in Ahmednagar Fort. In 1946 in the election of Interim Government congress won in most provinces under the leadership of Sardar Patel. In this year Jawaharlal Nehru was nominated, as the Prime Minister and he became the Home and Information and Broadcasting minister. After independence he held this post. As a home minister he successfully handled the communal tension in the country. He also contributed a lot to integrate all the princely states into the Indian Union. The Sardar said, "We are all knit together by bonds of blood and feelings... Therefore, it is better for us to make laws sitting together as friends." Under his guidance the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and other Central Services were started. He passed away in 1950.He was given the title of the 'The Iron Man Of India'.