Let us sink all our differences and look to one and one interest only, which is the interest of all of us—the interest of India as a whole
Askilled and pragmatic politician, Vallabhbhai Patel was a man of both vision and action. His legendary organisational and administrative skills and his ability to
clarify a situation and act decisively set him apart from his contemporaries. A successful lawyer, Patel was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy and under
Gandhi's tutelage, began to take an active role in the freedom movement. Patel was one of the most vocal supporters of the Quit India movement. He was arrested
and incarcerated time and again by the British for his prominent role in the freedom struggle, notably when he was arrested for supporting Gandhi's Salt
After independence, Patel served as the first home minister and deputy prime minister of India. As home minister, Patel was charged with forging a united India
from over 550 semi-autonomous princely states and colonial provinces and in dealing with the aftermath of Partition. A firm and tough negotiator, Patel's conviction
that independence should not only be enjoyed by those who lived in British-era provinces spurred him to ensure that all princely states joined the Union of India.
Vallabhbhai Patel's efforts at creating a unified India where all the citizens enjoyed the fruits of the freedom struggle created the Indian Republic we know today.
Vallabhbhai Patel (31 October 1875— 15 December 1950), fondly referred to as 'Sardar'—chief—and the 'Iron Man of India', was one of the foremost leaders
of India's independence movement and is credited with the integration of the princely states into the Indian Union and the creation of the modern pan-Indian civil
A skilled and pragmatic politician, Vallabhbhai Patel was a man of both vision and action. His legendary organisational and administrative skills and his ability to
clarify a situation and take decisive action set him apart from his contemporaries. A successful lawyer, Patel was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy, and
under Gandhi's tutelage began to take an active role in the freedom movement. Devoted to Gandhi, Patel adopted a simple lifestyle and abandoned the trappings of
Western living. His involvement in the Borsad, Kheda and Bardoli satyagrahas, where farmers practised civil disobedience to protest against unjust British taxes,
transformed him into one of the most powerful leaders in Gujarat and in the Indian National Congress.
Patel worked to organise the INC for elections in 1934 and 1937 and was one of the most vocal supporters of the Quit India movement. He was arrested and
incarcerated time and again by the British for his principal role in the freedom struggle, notably when he was arrested for supporting Gandhi's salt satyagraha.
In the last years of the freedom struggle, the friction between Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru increased though Patel stepped aside in the elections for the presidency
of the INC in 1946, at Gandhi's behest, to make way for Nehru. This ensured that Nehru, not Patel, would be the leader of the first government of Free India.
Troubled by the friction between the two stalwarts of the INC, Gandhi counselled Patel to work with Nehru. As always, Patel complied and served as the first Home
Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India.
As Home Minister, Vallabhbhai Patel was charged with forging a united India from over 550 semi-autonomous princely states and colonial provinces, and was
called upon to deal with the terrible circumstances in the aftermath of the partition. Patel's efforts provided safety and relief for refugees in Punjab and Delhi. He
toured many regions marred by communal violence and exhorted the rioting masses to maintain law and order in his inimitable, quiet and sincere style. His legendary
negotiation skills ensured almost all princely states acceded to India. States like Junagadh and Hyderabad that did not cooperate and struggled against joining the
Indian Union were threatened with military action and Patel made good on the threat.
In his many speeches, he made a case for communal harmony; peace among different regions; the responsibility of common people in maintaining law and order;
and his fervent belief that independence should not only be enjoyed by those who live in British-era provinces, but must be experienced by all the people of the
country irrespective of their citizenship of one kingdom or the other. Marked by brevity, Patel's speeches outlined his unambiguous stance on issues. He was not given
to elegant turns of phrase, nor was he an orator, but his speeches provide a glimpse of a realist who was able to reach out to millions and appeal to their best instincts.
His efforts at creating a unified and united India where all the citizens enjoyed the fruits of the freedom struggle created the Indian Republic we know today.
To celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Indian Republic, the Words of Freedom series showcases the landmark speeches and writings of fourteen
visionary leaders whose thought animated the Indian struggle for Independence and whose revolutionary ideas and actions forged the Republic of India as we know it
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