India is observing the 143rd birth anniversary of the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, on Wednesday.He was born at Nadiad in Bombay Presidency (present day Gujarat). He pursued a degree in law from England and started his law practice in Godhra, Gujarat. He married Zaverbai in 1891 and had two children. Deeply influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, he supported the Non-Cooperation Movement, Salt Satyagraha Movement and Quit India Movement. In 1931, he was elected as the President of the Indian National Congress (INC).Patel passed away after a cardiac arrest on 15 December 1950.
Interesting Facts About Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
- Sardar Patel was a prominent member of the Constituent Assembly of India and played a key role in forming certain aspects of India’s constitutional system like Fundamental Rights, tribal affairs and minority welfare.
- In 1918, Vallabhbhai led a “No Tax Campaign” urging the farmers not to pay taxes after the Kaira floods. After 10 years, he again stood for the people hit by famine in Bardoli district through a movement. Consequently, the British had to agree on the demands of the people and he was then bestowed with the title ‘Sardar’ (leader).
- In the 1946 Congress elections, 13 states out of 16 wanted him to become their president but he stepped down for Jawahar Lal Nehru, upon Mahatma Gandhi’s request.
- After independence, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel became the first Home Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister of the nation.
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel played a key role in establishing the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS). He also led the restoration of the Somnath Temple in Saurashtra, Gujarat.
- Vallabhbhai integrated over 550 princely states under the Indian Dominion into the independent Indian Union. Since 2014, his birthday is being observed as the Rashtriya Ekta Divas (National Unity Day).
- The week in which his birthday falls is marked as the Vigilance Awareness Week across the country.
- Filmmmaker Ketan Mehta directed a biopic on him titled “Sardar” in 1993. Apart from this, several institutions, airports, dams, stadiums and infrastructure projects have been named after him.
- He was posthumously conferred the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in 1991.
- His statue that is being inaugurated in Gujarat will be the tallest statue in the world. The statue stands at a height of 597 feet, within a complex spread over an area of 12 square km. It will be known as ‘The Statue of Unity’ and will have an artificial lake around it.