The birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first home minister, is observed as National Unity Day or Rashtriya Ekta Diwas. On October 31, 1875, Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel, often known as ‘Sardar Patel,’ was born into a landowning family of the Leva Patidar caste.
Why is October 31 observed as ‘National Unity Day’?
The Government of India established Rashtriya Ekta Diwas, or National Unity Day, in 2014 to honor the great man who really united the country. The Central Government declared October 31 as National Unity Day, saying in an official statement that the occasion “will provide an opportunity to reaffirm our nation’s inherent strength and resilience to withstand actual and potential threats to our country’s unity, integrity, and security.”
Sardar Patel accomplished the amazing achievement of convincing almost 565 self-governing princely kingdoms that had been freed from British suzerainty to join the Union of India. He got the moniker “Iron Man of India” for his dedication to the newly formed country’s national integration.
Education and legal practice
He went to Karamasad for primary school and Petlad for high school. He married when he was 16, matriculated when he was 22, and passed the district pleader’s test, allowing him to practice law. In August 1910, he traveled to London to study at the Middle Temple, where he completed the final tests with excellent honors. He returned to India in February 1913 and settled in Ahmadabad, where he quickly became the preeminent criminal law advocate.
The battle for liberty
In 1917, inspired by Mohandas K. Gandhi’s satyagraha ideas, he resolved to follow and assist Gandhi. He altered his appearance and manner. He left the Gujarat Club, dressed in the white garb of an Indian peasant, and ate in the way of an Indian.
Patel initially established a name for himself in 1918, when he organized huge protests of peasants, farmers, and landowners in Kaira, Gujarat, against the Bombay government’s intention to collect the entire yearly revenue taxes despite crop failures caused by excessive rains.
In 1928, he successfully rallied the Bardoli landowners in their opposition to rising taxes. His effective leadership of the Bardoli war gave him the title ‘ sardar’ (leader), and he was recognized as a nationalist leader across India from then on.
During the first three years of independence, he served as deputy prime minister, minister of information, minister of home affairs, and minister of states; above all, he is remembered for his peaceful integration of the princely Indian states into the Indian Union and the political unification of India.
He died on December 15, 1950, in Bombay, after suffering a major heart attack.