Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel led the integration of more than 500 princely states into India before and after the country got its independence from British rule. He is considered one of the most important faces of India’s freedom movement. While Patel is a celebrated figure in India, there are many unknown facts about him. On the birth anniversary of Patel – dubbed as the Iron Man of India – let’s take a look at some of the lesser-known facts about the personality, who shaped India in the 20th century.
1. Patel was one of the top senior leaders of the Indian National Congress (INC). He became India’s first Deputy Prime Minister after the Independence in 1947.
2. He was also appointed as the first Home Minister of Independent India. Besides this, he also oversaw the ministry of information and ministry of states.
3. Patel passed his matriculation at the age of 22. Initially, he wasn’t interested in politics but after meeting Gandhiji in Godhra in 1917, he quit his job and joined INC and became party’s secretary of the Gujarat Sabha.
4. Patel travelled to England when he was 36 years old, and enrolled in a three-year course at the Middle Temple in the Inns of Court. Despite having no previous college experience, he completed the course within 30 months and qualified as a barrister.
5. During the time of plagues and famines in India, he joined the movement to fight for exemption of taxes in Kheda at Gandhi’s call.
6. He was an instrumental part of Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement. He travelled extensively around West India in order to recruit 3,00,000 members. He also collected over Rs 1.5 million for the party fund.
7. He spread awareness across the nation extensively against untouchability, caste discrimination, alcohol consumption, and for women empowerment.
8. During the imprisonment of Mahatma Gandhi, Patel led the Satyagraha movement in Nagpur in 1923, which was against the British law of banning the hoisting of the Indian Flag.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, without a doubt, was one of the most influential figures of India in the 20th century. To honour his legacy, ‘Statue of Unity’ – world’s tallest statue- was unveiled in 2018. It is located on the banks of Narmada river in Gujarat.