Know all about his role in unifying India post-Independence 


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Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel death anniversary: Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 71st death anniversary on December 15, 2021. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was India’s first deputy Prime Minister and was popularly known as ‘Iron Man of India’. He played a key role in the Indian freedom movement, especially in unifying India post-independence. 

Tributes poured in from leading dignitaries including the Prime Minister and Vice President of India on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s death anniversary. PM Modi tweeted, “Remembering Sardar Patel on his Punya Tithi. India will always be grateful to him for his monumental service, his administrative skills and the untiring efforts to unite our nation.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu tweeted, “Remembering the iconic freedom fighter, ‘Iron Man of India’ #SardarVallabhbhaiPatel on his Punya Tithi today. He was a towering statesman and an illustrious leader who cared deeply for the welfare of the farmers and worked incessantly for the uplift of the downtrodden.”

The Vice President also hailed Sardar Patel’s monumental role in the peaceful integration of over 560 princely states by calling him the ‘ Unifier of India’.”His legendary life continues to inspire every Indian to work towards strengthening the unity & integrity of the nation and eliminating social evils from society,” VP Naidu added.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Death Anniversary/ Punyatithi: 15 December

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Death 

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had passed away on December 15, 1950 in Bombay after suffering a massive heart attack. His health had been on deteriorating throughout the summer of 1950. His meetings and working hours had been limited after he began coughing blood. He was confined to bed after November 2nd when he began losing consciousness frequently. He was flown to Bombay to recuperate after his condition was deemed critical on December 12.

Sardar Patel was seen off at the Delhi airport by the then Governor-General of India – C Rajagopalachari, President Rajendra Prasad and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Morarji Desai and Bombay Chief Minister B. G. Kher received him at the airport in Bombay and he was taken to Birla House in Bombay. He breathed his last there after suffering a massive heart attack. 

Following his death, over 1500 India’s civil and police services officers gathered to mourn his passing at his Delhi residence and pledged their complete loyalty and unremitting zeal in India’s service in an unprecedented gesture.

A week of national mourning was declared then by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to pay homage to the late leader. He was cremated at Sonapur, respecting his wish to be cremated like a common man in the same place as his wife and brother. His cremation was attended by a crowd of one million including PM Jawaharlal Nehru, Governor-General Rajagopalachari and President Rajendra Prasad.

Why is Sardar Patel called the Unifier of India?

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel served as the first deputy Prime Minister of India from 1947 to 1950. He had also served as the acting Home Minister during the political integration of India post Independence and the 1947 Indo-Pakistani War.

He is called the ‘unifier of India’ as he had played a key role in the integration of all princely states into the Indian Union. The British mission had proposed two plans for transfer of power, one of which was the plan of 16 May 1946, which proposed a loose federation with extensive provincial autonomy and grouping of provinces based on religious majority. 

The plan proposed the partition of India on religious lines and the 565 princely states were given the option to join either India or Pakistan or remain independent. The plan was accepted after much deliberation and criticism.

Several Indian nationalists feared that if these princely states did not accede to the Indian Union then most of the people and territory would be fragmented. It was Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who took charge of the integration of the princely states into India. This is why he is remembered as a ‘unifier of India’. 

Patel was considered as the best man for the task of achieving conquest of the princely states by the Indian dominion. Patel persuaded the princes of 565 states by proposing favourable terms for the merger including the creation of privy purses for the rulers’ descendants. He did not rule out of force but encouraged the rulers to act out of patriotism.

He had set the deadline of August 15, 1947 for all the princely states to sign the instrument of accession document. Besides three princely states- Jammu and Kashmir, Junagadh, and Hyderabad, all others willingly merged with the Indian Union.

Hyderabad was the largest of all princely states and it includes parts of present-day Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Junagarh was in Patel’s home state of Gujarat. The Nawab of Junagadh had acceded to Pakistan under pressure from Naaz Bhutto but it was located far from Pakistan and its 80 percent population was Hindu. Junagadh was taken over by India by combining diplomacy with force under the directions of Patel.

Hyderabad was also similarly integrated into the Indian Union taken by force under Operation Polo. Patel had insisted that allowing Hyderabad to continue as an independent nation surrounded by India would have not made either Hindus or Muslims in the state feel secure. 

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Statue- Statue of Unity

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Statue- Statue of Unity was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi on October 31, 2018, on Patel 143rd birth anniversary. The project was first announced in 2010 and the construction had began in October 2013. The Statue of Unity is the world’s tallest statue with a height of 182 metres. It is located on the Narmada River in Kevadiya colony in Gujarat.

 





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