The architect of a unified and modern India committed to the resolve and goal
The background from which Sardar Patel comes is what makes him different and unique from all other politicians. He went to London in the year 1910 at the age of 35. Vallabhbhai's determination and integrity towards his goal can only be gauged from the fact that he completed the three-year course in just two years. He passed the barrister's examination in first class with the first position. After returning from London, Vallabhbhai used to wear suit boots and hats. But once he decided to work with Gandhi after November 1917, he remained with Gandhi for the rest of his life and remained his most loyal colleague. Vallabhbhai's status within Congress increased. He earned this honor through his own determination and sincere devotion to duty.
Very few people are aware of the way Patel united the entire Congress party behind Gandhi and collected funds for the party. The way Vallabhbhai used to deal with the local powers of the country, no other leader had the same capability. From 1917 to 1939, Vallabhbhai Patel worked under Gandhi's shadow. Now he had become a full-fledged Gandhian and started wearing Khadi clothes. Between 1922 and 1928, Patel raised massive donations for Congress and made his mark as the most trusted person. Gandhi considered himself a huge fundraiser, but he was also surprised by Patel's unequaled ability. From 1934 to 1939, Sardar Patel is seen within the Congress fighting for Gandhi and the Gandhians, raising funds for the party, and disciplining and organizing the party. Little is known about the way Patel was coping with the anomalies of the organizational structure. After 1934, Gandhi's leadership was challenged not only from within the party but communist and Hindu nationalist forces outside the Congress were also questioning Gandhi's leadership.
After the year 1946, the Muslim League, with the help of the British, was pushing for 'Pakistan' very vigorously. Even in this odd situation, the Congress leadership was not unanimous. Maulana Azad was still exploring the possibility of a Congress-League alliance. Gandhi still hoped that the political problem would be solved through Hindu-Muslim unity. But in this confusing situation, Sardar Patel was the only person who was seeing and understanding things from a clear point of view. He was understanding that the unity of the country would require a strong army and a strong central government, otherwise, the country would break into pieces.
At that time, the country was feeling the need for a strong national leadership that could stand firmly against the Muslim demand. It was in such a situation that there was talk of the election of a Congress leader who could become the Prime Minister of India. Most of the provinces of India supported Patel. His becoming the Congress President was almost certain. But due to Gandhi's intervention, the post of Congress President was handed over to Nehru. Thus, if we want to know how a united and strong India has emerged, then we have to look at the historical contexts before 1947 in due perspective. Only then will we be able to properly assess the role of Sardar Patel.