Birth anniversary: Interesting facts about Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

On the occasion of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's birth anniversary, here are some facts about the man popularly known as 'Iron man' of India.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

>> Vallabhbhai Patel was born on October 31, 1875 in Nadiad, a small village in Gujarat. Interestingly, the official date of birth of Vallabhbhai Patel was never officially recorded. Patel entered 31 October as his date of birth on his matriculation examination papers.

>> Vallabhbhai's family was not well to do. He wanted to become a barrister but he did not have the financial means to even join a college India. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel borrowed books from a lawyer of his acquaintance and studied at home and then went to give his law exam. Occasionally he also attended courts of law and listened attentively to the arguments of lawyer to gain first hand knowledge.

>> He got married to Jhaveraba. In 1904, his daughter Maniben was born and a year after his daughter, his son Dahyabhai was born. His wife died when he was in his early thirties. Jhaveraba had to undergo a major surgical operation for cancer. Her health suddenly worsened and, despite successful emergency surgery, she died in the hospital. Patel was in a court cross examining his witness when he got the news in a note. According to onlookers, Patel read the note, pocketed it and continued to intensely cross-examine the witness and won the case. He broke the news to others only after the proceedings had ended. He never married after that.

>> In 1917, Patel contested and won elections to become the sanitation commissioner of Ahmedabad. Vallabhbhai successfully led peasants revolt in Kheda which turned him into a national hero.

>> Vallabhbhai Patel had a great attachment with Mahatma Gandhi. He gave up his lucrative legal career and entered public services. He supported Gandhi's Non-Cooperation Movement, and as president of the Gujarat Congress, helped in organising bonfires of British goods in Ahmedabad. Infact, their relationship is very close after Gandhiji’s death his health also started deteriorating and with in two months he suffered a massive heart attack.

>> He was elected Ahmedabad's municipal president in 1922, 1924 and 1927. During his terms, Ahmedabad was extended a major supply of electricity and underwent major education reforms. Drainage and sanitation systems were extended over all the city.

>> In 1928, when Bardoli Taluka in Gujarat suffered from floods and famine, Patel appealed to the Governor to reduce the taxes which was vehemently refused. Sardar Patel organised the farmers revolt against governement. The government tried to repress the revolt but failed. The leadership, struggle and after the victory in Bardoli caused intense excitement across India to such an extent that Patel was addressed by his colleagues and followers as Sardar.

>> Patel was a true friend. When bubonic plague broke out in Gujarat in the 1930s, Patel went to take care of his friend who was infected, despite being advised not to. This resulted in him contracting the disease himself. He took refuge at a dilapidated temple in Nadiad until he recovered.

>> Patel opposed the existence of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh(RSS) because according to him, it could lead to an communal poison.

>> He was posthumously conferred with Bharat Ratna in 1991 for his services to the nation.

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