The Man Who United India

 

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Today is the National Unity Day. Do you know why this day is celebrated? To honour the memory of the Iron Man of India – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The day began being observed in 2014 and is known in India as the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas. The Home Ministry cites that the day “will provide an opportunity to re-affirm the inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand the actual and potential threats to the unity, integrity and security of our country.”

Today is a good day learn more about Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Here are some known and unknown facts about him, that will help shed more light on the person and political force that he was.

  1. His full name was Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel. Sardar was an affectionate title given to him. Throughout his political life, and till now, he has been fondly remembered as Sardar Patel.
  2. He was the first Deputy Prime Minister of India. Tales of his friendship and understanding with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru dot the narratives around the founding of India. Both can be considered founding fathers of the Indian republic.
  3. Aside from being the first Deputy Prime Minister, he was also the first Home Minister of India.
  4. By profession, Patel was a lawyer. In fact, it was very early in his life that he decided he wanted to practice law. He wanted to study in London, but the family wasn’t resourced enough to afford his initial studies there. Hence, Patel did his basic learning in India, by himself, and practiced law in Godhra, Anand and Borsad.
  5. Patel didn’t give up the London dream. He enrolled in Middle Temple, Inns of Court at the age of 36, and thanks to the genius he was, he finished his 36-month course in a mere 30 months. Also, he topped his class! Devoted learning has its merits.
  6. When he finally started practicing law after settling in Ahmedabad, it was criminal law that he specialized in.
  7. Patel was fond of playing Bridge – a card game which requires high powers of intellect. In fact, he was fabulous at the game and could defeat many veterans of Bridge when at his best.
  8. He was the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian armed forces, during the period of unifying all the princely states of India under one republic.
  9. It was in the year 1991 that, posthumously, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was awarded the Bharat Ratna. A true Ratna, or jewel of the great Indian heartland he is.
  10. And of course, you all must know, that the tallest statue in the world is his statue. Called the Statue of Unity, it was unveiled in 2018 on his birthday.

Our reverence for the great man, as the whole country celebrates his birth anniversary today. If you know more interesting facts about him – let us know!