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Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Biography

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The full name of Vallabhbhai Patel is Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel and very famously called Sardar Patel. Sardar was his name in India and everywhere else, the word is popular in Hindi, Urdu and Persian languages which also means ‘chief’. He is an Indian barrister who also contributed majorly to Indian Independence as a senior leader of the Indian National Congress party. During the Indo-Pak war in 1947, his role as Home Minister was vital as during the struggle, he guided the independent nation to unity through integration. He truly was at the helm of integrating and merging the British provinces that were allotted to India with the new Independent India, leading the task of forging a united front. 


Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Biography

In this article of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Biography, we will look into his early life, what formed his notions and all that led him on to the path of greatness.


Basic Information

  • Full Name- Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel

  • Famously called- Sardar Patel or Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

  • Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Date Of Birth- born on October 31st, 1875

  • Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Birth Place- Nadiad, under Bombay Presidency in British India, present-day Gujarat

  • Roles Taken in his lifetime- Barrister, Freedom fighter, Politician and an Activist

  • Association with Political Party- First Deputy Prime Minister of India, for Indian National Congress Party

  • Awards Received- Bharat Ratna in the year 1991 received posthumously

  • Death- died on December 15, 1950 

  • Place of Death- at the age of 75 in Bombay, present-day Mumbai

Early Family Life and Career in Law

Born to Jhaverbhai Patel and Ladba and being one of six children, he lived a very sheltered life. His was a landowning family who was capable of providing for themselves. Sardar Vallabhbhai’s birthplace was Nadiad, which was a part of the Central Gujarat Community Leuva Patel Patidar community. 


He always endured everything and through it, he never complained about anything which other children his age indulged into. He travelled to Nadiad, Petlad, and Borsad for attending schools and gaining an education and meanwhile he also taught himself. He got married at the tender age of 16 to Jhaverben Patel in the year 1891. He was often mocked by other people in his community as it took him longer than usual to pass his matriculation exams. People questioned his intelligence and mocked him telling him he couldn’t go far or do great things in his life. 


He was a hard worker, and after his exams, he saved up funds with the aim of attaining a Law degree. He became a barrister after his British Law Education. They became a family of four when his wife Jhaverben gave birth to a daughter and a son in 1903 and 1905 respectively. He and his family were now living in Godhra where he was called to the bar (which means a bar exam which one has to pass to commence the practice of law and argue on behalf of others in the court). He passed his bar exam and practised professionally for many years and became a very skilled lawyer with a good reputation. 


Personal Struggles

During his law study, he lived away from home and his family in England for two years and studied with the help of other lawyers by borrowing books from them. He converted his lack of financial resources into opportunities. 


When Gujarat too like the rest of the world was hit with Bubonic Plague, he tended to his friends who suffered from it and later he was down with it too. He always has believed in the sacrifice for others. During this period, he isolated himself from his family for their safety and spent his time in a dilapidated temple in his healing days. 


In 1909 when he was questioning a witness in court, he received a written message about his wife’s demise who was suffering from the relapse and after-effects of emergency surgery for cancer. And without flinching, Vallabhbhai Patel went on with his case and even won. He never again gave in for marriage and decided to live as a widower. It was his stoic nature that he had built since childhood that has helped him through many such tough situations.  


Role in India Becoming an Independent Nation

He was focused on making a better place for society to survive and encouraged education when he built a school  "Edward Memorial High School" in Borsad, he was the founder and the chairman today is known as Jhaverbhai Dajibhai Patel High School. In 1917 in Ahmedabad, he ran in the election for the Sanitation Commissioner role after a lot of persuasion from his friends and won. 


He did not have a very high opinion about Mahatma Gandhi until he met with him later that year in October 1917. His perspective and life altered and he joined the independence movement of India. It was an immediate decision. 


He garnered a favourable position and a lot of support from other Congressmen when he demonstrated excellent commitment in convincing the villagers and other civilians to revolt against tax pay. He was elected as the President of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee; in 1920 and offered his services till 1945.


He supported Gandhi during his time in jail by the Satyagraha movement in 1923 in Nagpur when there was a ban against raising the Indian Flag. He gathered many volunteers who supported him in this movement and also reached a settlement negotiating the release of other prisoners and allowing public hoisting of the national flag. The steep tax issues again rose when there was a famine in April 1928 after his return to fulfil his municipality duties and this time he was able to gain even more support to completely negate the tax payment.  


"Fundamental Rights and Economic Policy" resolution was passed by Congress in 1931 under Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s chairmanship. Sardar Patel was arrested along with Gandhi in 1932 and was released two years later in 1934. 


He was also sent to prison again in 1940 for a period of 9 months when Sardar Patel supported Gandhi in the Quit India Movement during the outbreak of the second world war. And after release, he participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement for the British to finally Quit India. Once again he got arrested in August 1942 and was not released till June 16th 1945. 


Patel was initially apprehensive of Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence but later embraced it as he understood its importance and power. Upon his release in 1945, it came to his knowledge that the British are indeed considering the transfer of power to India. His valiant struggles also garnered him the title of “Iron Man Of India”.


When the first elections of independence were held and Rajendra Prasad became the first President of India, and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel became the First Deputy Prime Minister whose role at a time of national emergency is far more crucial. It falls upon the members of the cabinet to bring about political stability and strength with a proper chain of command.


Final Years and Death 

In the years 1948 and 1949, he was awarded many honorary doctorates of law by various universities like  Nagpur University, the University of Allahabad and Banaras Hindu University, subsequently from Osmania University and Punjab University.


For his contribution to the independence Previously, Patel also featured on the cover page of the January 1947 issue of the prestigious Time magazine. 


Patel breathed his last at 75 years of age on December 15, 1950, at Birla House in Bombay, now Mumbai. This sudden demise was due to a heart attack, the first one occurred on November 2nd in the year 1950 when he was already dealing with stomach cancer since the summer of 1950. This later turned into cough blood and in those days, he was mostly confined to his bed when admitted to the hospital. He also started to lose consciousness. And eventually, his health condition worsened when he suffered a second heart attack on December 15. Post his death, following the orders of his daughter, he was cremated alongside his elder brother and wife like a common man without demanding any special treatment. 


The recognition and awards did not stop coming even after his death, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1991. 


Conclusion

Not many can achieve in several lifetimes what Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was able to excel in one lifetime. He managed to lead as a political leader and was also beloved by the crowds and masses. After his death, many officers and the national police force along with the country mourned his death. He was truly loved and his strength of character also shines as he never shied away from handling the financial burdens of his family. He was a great man and deserved the title of "patron saint of India's civil servants" and the “Iron man of India”. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q.1. Why was Vallabhbhai Patel Called ‘Sardar’?

Ans. Sardan is a commonly used word referring to the beloved ones as ‘Chief’ in various languages like Hindi, Urdu and Persian. And therefore he was also called Sardar Patel. This name stuck when he was truly heroic during a difficult famine in 1928 trying to manage and balance everything and was also cooperating with people for negating the unnecessary tax payments. The villagers in Kheda called him Sardar or chief.

Q.2. Was Saradar as Good a Family Man as a Leader?

Ans. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was a great leader as he rose to the occasion and always went the extra mile when he committed to something and tried to help his fellow countrymen. He was one of six brothers, coming from a close-knit family who always cares for and sacrifices for others. Even after his barrister degree from England when he returned to India, he was humble and took his family responsibilities seriously towards his wife and children. Keeping them safe even when his health was draining from the Bubonic Plague that hit and swept across Gujarat was his priority. He stayed away from them for their own safety. Even after his wife’s death, he vowed not to remarry, showing his dedication and sincere love for his wife and family. 

Q.3. Why Did Sardar Patel Die?

Ans. Sardar Patel died of a heart attack that he suffered the second time in 1950, December 15. He was ill for a long time from stomach cancer, coughing blood and losing memory after many months of confinement to bed and being constantly ill. The first attack was on the 2nd of November,1950.