By Surbhi Moudgil
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was a man of humble beginnings but had the vision of a collectively excelling India which takes along each section of the society. There are numerous incidents which justify his dedication towards augmenting the Indian landmass which was initially dispersed among 600 kingdoms and princely states. His dedication towards a unified India is a story unparalleled in world history.
Sardar Patel executed a vision of protecting, uniting and developing the country. One of the major enactments of his vision was the tactical collaboration of India’s surrounding princely states into the Republic of India.
Patel had an eye for recognising the socio-political consequences in the issue of diversity prevailing in the country. He only had one vision, the vision to see a united and developed India and for that, he joined the Congress, the only party prevalent at the time. He did agree with Gandhi, but according to historians, he wasn’t a blind follower of him like Jawaharlal Nehru. His only aim was to work for the country and its betterment.
The Iron Man of India was “steely determined and pragmatic” to take conclusive actions for uniting the Indian republic that we see and live in today. This led him to order undeviating action against the Nizam of Hyderabad compelling him to merge his state into India.
He deserved a better treatment from the successive Congress governments, which didn’t do much to forward the legacy and legend of a man who is responsible for everything that India, as a union, has achieved.
India’s first President Dr Rajendra Prasad had once said: “No attempt has been made in Delhi to erect a memorial (of Patel). Even the portrait in the Parliament House is a gift from the Prince of Gwalior. Let us not, therefore, run away with the thought that his (Patel’s) services are any less valuable because we choose not to recognise them.”
Prime Minister Modi also believed in that and has said, “India will forever be indebted to Sardar Patel for his tireless efforts to unite the nation.”
If it wasn’t for him, the Union of India would still have been entangled in regional, linguistic, religious issues and under gruesome debate just as Kashmir, which is still bearing the brunt of Nehru’s lack of conviction in making it a part of Union of India at the time of independence.
If there is any person in the history of India who can do justice to being the symbol of unity in India, then it has to be Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. On the occasion of his birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined a new scheme ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ (one India, great India), in which two states would form a partnership for a period of one year.
The nation stands indebted to our Iron Man and whatever we do, we can’t do justice to his contribution to our history.