Born on 31st October, 1875 in Gujarat, Vallabhbhai grew up shaping his own and his country’s destiny. He became a lawyer of repute largely due to his own efforts and later at the behest of Mahatma Gandhi joined the freedom movement. Sardar Patel was a statesman of great standing, vision and integrity.
An extraordinary feature of Sardar was his ability to combine roles that are usually filled by different individuals having different training and contrasting sensibilities. He was an outstanding freedom leader, a rare person who built and managed the Congress Party, and an able administrator who unified India at a time of great uncertainty within the country.
It is Sardar Patel more than anybody else who built the modern Indian nation-state in the twentieth century, particularly through his stewardship of the Home Ministry during those momentous times of 1947-50.
If Sardar Patel was not guiding us, India would not be what it is today. He aimed at integration in two ways- territorial integration and promotion of different communities by developing sense of national identity. He brought all the princely sates together, while continuing to remain in cordial relationship with the former rulers. He made different communities give up their claim for separate electorates in order to forge social integration. He was the leader who did not flatter the people around him but plainly told them where they were right or wrong.
Rare is the statesman, who has the ability to blend both the experience of action and the mind which creates. And he did so admirably in the mould of Kautilya and Chandragupta Maurya.
- Balmiki Prasad Singh, former Governor of Sikkim and Union Home Secretary is a distinguished author, thinker and public servant.