Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai PatelÃ‚Â ( 31 October 1875Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 15 December 1950) was an IndianÃ‚Â barristerÃ‚Â and statesman, one of the leaders of theÃ‚Â Indian National CongressÃ‚Â and one of the founding fathers of theÃ‚Â Republic of India. He was a social leader who played a leading role in the country’sÃ‚Â struggle for independenceÃ‚Â and guided itsÃ‚Â integrationÃ‚Â into a united, independent nation. InÃ‚Â IndiaÃ‚Â and elsewhere, he was often addressed asÃ‚Â Sardar,Ã‚Â which meansÃ‚Â ChiefÃ‚Â inÃ‚Â Hindi,Ã‚Â UrduÃ‚Â and Persian.
He was raised in the countryside ofÃ‚Â Gujarat.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Patel was employed in successful practice as a lawyer. He subsequently organised peasants fromÃ‚Â Kheda,Ã‚Â Borsad, andÃ‚Â BardoliÃ‚Â in Gujarat inÃ‚Â non-violentÃ‚Â civil disobedienceÃ‚Â against oppressive policies imposed by theBritish Raj; in this role, he became one of the most influential leaders in Gujarat. He rose to the leadership of theÃ‚Â Indian National Congress, in which capacity he would organise the party for the elections held in 1934 and 1937, as well as continue to promote theQuit India Movement.
As the firstÃ‚Â Home MinisterÃ‚Â andÃ‚Â Deputy Prime Minister of India, Patel organised relief forÃ‚Â refugees fleeingÃ‚Â fromÃ‚Â PunjabÃ‚Â andÃ‚Â DelhiÃ‚Â and led efforts to restore peace across the nation. Patel took charge of the task to forge a united India by integrating into the newly liberated nation thoseÃ‚Â British colonial provincesÃ‚Â “allocated” to India. Besides those provinces under direct British rule, approximately 565 self-governingÃ‚Â princely statesÃ‚Â had been released from BritishÃ‚Â suzeraintyÃ‚Â by theÃ‚Â Indian Independence Act 1947. Through both frank diplomacy as well an option to deploy military force, Patel would persuade almost every princely state to accede to India. Patel’s commitment to national integration in the newly liberated country was total and uncompromising, earning him the sobriquet “Iron Man of India”. He is also affectionately remembered as the “Patron saint of India’s civil servants” for having established themodern all-India servicesÃ‚Â system.
An annual commemoration of Patel, known as theÃ‚Â Rashtriya Ekta DiwasÃ‚Â (National Unity Day), was introduced by the Government of India in 2014 and is to be held annually on his birthday, 31 October.