This book highlights the life and works of the Iron Man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Primarily written for children, it goes through various aspects of the life of Sardar Patel and his role in the freedom movement and the integration of India. Seasoned writer Prabha Chopra adopts an innovative Question-Answer method to narrate the story of Sardar Patel which not only makes the book an interesting read but also provides the information in a lucid way. This book, it is hoped, will also be useful to the reader who wishes to know about Sardar Patel’s life without going through the lengthy biographies.
Prabha Chopra, formerly Editor of Gazetteers in Delhi Administration and Senior Fellow of Indian Council of Social Science Research, is currently the Editor in the “Collected works of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel” project. She has written several scholarly works, including Delhi- its History and places of Interest, Gazetteer of Delhi, Panorama of India Culture, Cultural Heritage of Tibet, Encyclopedia of India, Encyclopedia of Asian Culture and Encyclopedia of Indian Culture, etc.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel ranks as one of the top leaders along with Gandhiji and Jawaharlal Nehru during the pre-independence and post-independence periods in India. He played an important role during the freedom struggle and later on in consolidating India into an integrated whole. Sardar Patel lived only for three years after Independence. How deftly he handled the five hundred sixty and odd Princely States that they almost willingly joined the Indian Union merging themselves peacefully into the political and cultural mainstream of the country is part of Patel’s story. In fact this is a singular contribution of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to the country. As Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister he had an iron grip over the administration. He reformed and strengthened the administrative services justly called the “Steel Frame”. In the Army he created a sense of Patriotism, integrity, devotion to duty and loyalty to the country. He also successfully dealt with the Refugees problem which was a stupendous task in itself. During his short span of life after Independence, he made efforts to make the country economically strong so that she could stand proudly and with equality among the comity of Nations.
“That there is today an India to think and talk about”, wrote Dr. Rajendra Prasad in May 1959, is very largely due to Sardar Patel’s statesmanship and firm administration.
I have based this work on authoritative sources like “Collected Works on Sardar Patel”, Dr. P.N. Chopra’s “The Sardar of India”, a biography of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as also on Shri Raj Mohan Gandhi’s biography of Sardar Patel “The Sardar”.
I was inspired to take up the great Sardar’s biography for Children by late Shri S. Nijalingappa, former Chief Minister of Karnataka and founder Chairman of Sardar Patel Society. My late husband Dr. P.N. Chopra, who was the Member-Secretary cum Founder Member and Chief Editor of Sardar Patel Society, always gave to me his valuable suggestions in this regard. I am also thankful to Shri Rabindra Kumar Das to type out the manuscript correctly and efficiently.
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