Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is the icon of Indian freedom struggle and a great symbol of modem India's unity and integrity. He was one of the principal architects of Indian independence. Born on October 31, 1875 in Nadiad of Gujarat, Vallabhbhai Patel was the son of Jhaverba Patel. Ladbai was his mother. He completed his matriculation in 1897 at the age of 22. Then he went to England for higher studies. He completed his law degree in 1913 from Inns of court. After completing his education in England, he returned to India and started his law practice. He soon became a successful lawyer of Ahmedabad. Inspired by the work and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, he joined India's struggle for independence.
He joined Mahatma Gandhi in representing the Ahmedabad Mill owners dispute in 1918. He organized the peasants of Kheda in Gujarat against the high taxes of the government and led a peaceful and non-violent movement, forcing the government for an honourable agreement with peasants. He helped Gandhiji win the Kheda battle for peasants as Mahatma Gandhi wrote in his autobiography, "I will say that without the help of Vallabhbhai Patel, we should not have won the campaign." Irt 1920 Sardar Patel was elected the President of the Gujarat Congress Committee which he served in the post till 19l5. He vehemently supported the Non-cooperation Movement launched by Gandhiji. He worked against alcoholism, untouchability and casteism in Gujarat.
Sardar Patel again proved himself the crusader for the peasants' cause when he led a movement against the tax-hike by the government and forced the government to hear the peasants problems in the Bardoli region in 1928. Sardar Patel was also elected as the President of Indian National Congress in 1931 in Karachi. It was a crucial INC session in which the Gandhi-Irwin Pact was endorsed by the INC. Sardar Patel also played an active role in the Quit India Movement. He played a key role in the making of the Constitution and served on numerous posts and committee's head in the Constituent Assembly. He was the chairman of the Provincial Constitution Committee and 'Committee on Fundamental Rights and Minorities' in the Constituent Assembly. He was instrumental for the entry of eminent jurists like B.N. Rau, K.M. Munshi and Gopalaswami Ayyangar into the Constituent Assembly.
After Independence, Sardar Patel became the first Deputy Prime Minister of India. He was given vital portfolios of Home and States, signifying his huge stature in the Union Cabinet of PM Jawaharlal Nehru. Sardar Patel's another great achievement and great contribution to India was his campaign for the unification of India after 1947. He brought more than 560 princely states under the Indian tricolour including big states like Junagarh and Hyderabad and laid the foundation of a strong and United India. In brief he dedicated his entire life to the cause of India, its freedom and its unity. He passed away on December 15, 1950 in Murnbai : Sardar Patel earned the title of Sardar in Bardoli Movement. He was elected the President of Indian National Congress in 1931 in its Karachi Session. Gandhiji was nominated to represent Congress in the Second Round Table Conference in this session. The INC Karachi Session in 1931 presided over by Sardar Patel adopted a resolution on 'Fundamental Rights and Economic Policy'. Sardar Patel is generally referred to as 'The Iron Man of India' and 'India's Bismarck' for his vital contribution in India's unification.
He was honoured with 'Bharat Ratna' in 1991. His birth anniversary on October 31 is observed as the 'National Unity Day' or 'Rashtriya Ekta Diwas'.