For the uninitiated, Sardar Patel was one of the founding fathers of the Republic of India who along with Mahatma Gandhi led the Satyagraha movement. He led many marches against the British and played a key role in the freedom struggle of the country. A truly great social leader, his work was characterized by excellence. He has made his spot in the history of our nation and in our hearts for eternity.
Today, on his birth anniversary, let's get to know just how badass he was.
1. Commonly called Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was a lawyer by profession and was lovingly given the title of Sardar, meaning leader or chief.
2. He was the first Deputy Prime Minister AND Home Minister of India.
3. Patel finished high school at the relatively late age of 22 years. His family considered him to be unambitious and destined for a common-place job.
4. He passed the state examination for law with no formal education - only borrowed books from acquaintances.
5. Sardar Patel went to England to further study law after having put his elder brother through a university in England as well. He aced the Barrister-at-Law examination there.
6. He came back to India and started his practice in Ahmedabad. He was offered a job for the British government on multiple occasions, but turned them all down.
7. He contracted the Bubonic Plague when it swept through Gujarat and survived it. This plague killed about 12 million across India and China.
8. His wife Jhaverba passed away when he was only 33 years old, but he loved her deeply and so, never remarried.
9. During Congress elections in 1946, thirteen out of sixteen states chose Sardar Patel as their president, who was the more popular candidate and would have eventually become the first Prime Minister of independent India.
But upon Gandhi's request, he stepped down as a candidate and endorsed Jawaharlal Nehru instead.
10. He is credited for the political integration of over 500 princely states into the independent Indian Union.
For this reason October 31st (his birthday) is celebrated as Rashtriya Ekta Divas (National Unity Day).
11. A man of great fortitude, he survived a heart attack in 1948, and died of natural causes in 1950 even while making jokes on his deathbed.
12. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1991.
There you have it. Just in case you didn't already know just how great this man was. Let us, as a nation, thank him for being the person that he was.