October 2016 | Vithalbhai Patel, Sardar Patel

TODAY THAT DAY : 27 - 28 OCTOBER 1933 (Death of Shri Vithalbhai Patel - 22nd October 1933)

(27 September 1873 – 22 October 1933) 

First Indian President of the Legislative Assembly (1925). Died October 22, 1933. The first Swarajist President of the Bombay Corporation. Visited U.S.A. and Irish Free State to denounce the British Raj.

MR. V. J. PATEL DIES IN SWITZERLAND (22nd October 1933)

Mr. Vithalbhai J. Patel, the former President of the Indian Legislative Assembly, who has been lying seriously ill in a nursing home near Nyon (Lake Geneva), died on Sunday.

He remained conscious to the last, and his last works were : "BEFORE I DIE I PRAY FOR INDIA'S FREEDOM".

By the death of Mr. Patel, a barrister by profession, India  losses a staunch Swarajist and an ardent believer in the non-violence movement.

For a number of year he was Secretary of the Indian National Congress, and in the capacity came to England to give evidence in connection with the Montague-Chelmsford reforms in 1919. He was also a successful Mayor of Bombay.

A close collaborator with Gandhi he joined him in launching the second civil disobedience movement in 1931 and was twice arrested.

Architect of Swaraj - 2

Architect of Swaraj

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel 

Gandhi and Patel made a strong team as President and Secretary of the Gujarat Sabha. Earlier it used to meet once a year and would pass resolution and submit some petitions to the Government. But now it was decided to set up an executive committee with Gandhi as Chairman and Patel as Secretary which would function with a fixed program for the welfare of the masses. Under the Secretaryship of Patel the Sabha rendered service to the people of Gujarat in time of distress. When in 1917 plague broke out in Ahmedabad, Patel organized an anti-plague campaign. People looked to him with confidence to organize the relief measures. No single man in our country organized with so unfailing a success so many and so extensive relief measures in natural calamities as Patel did.

Patel as Secretary of the Gujarat Sabha took up the question of forced labour. Patel wrote three letters to Mr. Pratt, the then Commissioner of Northern Division, to ascertain the Government views on the subject. When nothing materialized he published and distributed leaflets among , villagers to educate them against forced labour. It had the desired effect and people began to press for payment for the services rendered. This antagonized the Government officers against Patel but he remained unmoved.

In early 1918, the crops of Kaira district were washed away by rain. The farmers were left with nothing and could not pay the land revenue. They prayed for the exemption of land tax. But the Government turned a deaf ear to their request. So the people approached Patel for help. "I shall see the crops myself and if what you say is correct, I shall request Gandhiji to take up your fight."

Patel himself visited the villages on a fact-finding inquiry and when he was satisfied he wrote to the Government of Bombay to grant exemption from land revenue. But this had no effect. So Patel approached Gandhi to take up the case of the Kaira peasants. Gandhi advised Satyagraha but he wanted "one at least of the workers of Gujarat Sabha to accompany him and devote all his time to the campaign until it was completed.'' Vallabhbhai offered his services, much to Gandhi's delight. Patel gave up his "European dress and donned dhoti and Kurta and toured the villages of Kaira District along with Gandhi to train the people to suffer in the cause of Satyagraha. When Gandhi appealed to the people to refrain form plying land revenue, the Government became furious and enforced punitive measures for tax collection. Lands were attached, property confiscated, and cattle were auctioned. This meant too great a hardship for the famine-hit people of Kaira. Gandhi had to leave Kaira to go to Champaran in Bihar. But in his absence Patel went from village to village and exhorted the peasants to bear the hardships cheerfully and not to yield. The peasants had faith in their leader and stood firm. Ultimately the Government had to yield. It agreed that the tax should be collected only from those who could pay it. This was what the Gujarat Sabha had been asking for. So the no ­tax campaign was called off.

The Kaira campaign had two effects Firstly the efficacy of the technique of Satyagraha was proved. It was later developed and adopted for the freedom movement. Secondly, the Kaira campaign discovered a new leader in the person of Patel.

In 1917, Patel contested and was elected as Municipal Councillor in a by-election in Ahmedabad Municipality. At that time a headstrong I.C.S. Officer, J.A. Shillidy, was the Municipal Commissioner who did not care for the advice of the Municipal Board. Soon after his election Patel came into conflict with Shillidy. Shillidy was out to help his favoured Councillor, one Fateh Mohammad Munshi, who bad contributed a handsome amount towards the War Loan. There was a small Jake near the railway station. Since it was a breeding ground for mosquitoes, it was decided to fill it up. But Munshi had a match factory near this lake and was seasoning timber in this lake. He wanted the lake to remain unfilled. Disregarding the interest of the Municipality, Shillidy leased this Jake to Munshi for a song. Vallabhbhai came to know all the facts of the case. He moved a resolution demanding the removal of Shillidy. The resolution was passed and the Government bad no alternative but to remove him.

Eight years after, i.e., in 1924, Patel was elected President of the Municipality and devoted all his time and energies to the betterment of the city. He did his utmost to make Ahmeda­bad cleaner, healthier and more beautiful. He himself took up the broom to clean the city. He encouraged the development of parks, play-ground are recreational centres. He also opened schools to provide free education. And when Indian National Congress passed the historic resolution of Non-cooperation at Nagpur in 1920, Patel prevailed upon the Municipality to free Municipal schools from Government control. He told the school.5 to decline the education grant from the Government. The Deputy Education Inspector was told not to visit the Municipal schools. The Government was no prepared to brook this insult. This Commissioner dubbed this act of the Municipality ultra vires. When the Commissioner ordered the Municipality to hand over the schools to the Government, the Municipality closed the schools for a month. This annoyed the Commissioner and he moved the. Government to suspend the Municipality. The Municipality was suspended on 9th February, 1922, and the Government entrusted its affairs to a committee nominated by them. Vallabhbhai strongly condemned this act to the Government. He also appealed to the people for funds to run national schools and was able to collect Rs. 1.25 lakhs with which 43 national schools were opened. Ultimately the Government had to yield and after two years the Municipality was restored.

Vallabhbhai continued to be the President of Ahmedabad Municipality till 1928 when he had to resign to devote himself fully to Bardoli struggle. During his tenure as President he continued to instil courage, self-respect and self-confidence in the people. Soon after the successful completion of the Kaira Satyagraha, Vallabhbhai joined Gandhi in raising recruits for the War which was going on at the time. But once the War was over, the Government tried to resuscitate the old Anglo­-Indian life. As if to add fuel to the fire the Rowlatt Committee's report was published. After the Rowlatt Bills came the massacre of Jallianwala Bagh on April 13th, 1919. 

Vallabhbhai now agreed with Gandhiji that non-co-operation was the only answer to British cruelties. The Congress. session was to be held in Calcutta to pass the non-cooperation resolution. 



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Architect of Swaraj - 1

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel 

Vallabhbhai Patel's was a many-sided genius. He was a mass leader, administrator and an astute diplomat. Above all he was an ardent nationalist and patriot. He devoted all his time and attention first to securing freedom for his motherland and then, when freedom had been secured, to the work of integrating the 560 odd States into the Union.

What was remarkable about the integration of States by Patel is that the princes whom he had deprived of their thrones .and power co-operated with him. In fact the integration of States went off so well that few could realize what a big historical event it was.

Patel has generally been called a man of iron-ruthless, rough and stern. Very few know that he was indeed intensely humane and fair-minded. Differences of opinions would not prejudice him. He had a sense of humour which brought the ghost of a smile to his lips and a twinkle to his eyes.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was born on 31st October, 1875, to Jhaverbhai Patel and Ladbai at Nadiad in the Kaira district of Gujarat. Vallabhbhai was a relatively short man, 5 feet 5½ inches in height, dour and homely in appearance especially as he aged, whose demeanour exuded far more strength than his height and whose eyes emitted a penetrating glance which gave pause to all who did not know him well. His father belonged to Karamsad an agricultural caste known as the Lewa Patidar a class which is said to have come to Gujarat from the Punjab. The Lewa Patidars were famous as a militant community and had played a notable part in the first war of India's independence. Ladbai, Vallabh's mother, belonged to Nadiad. She was a simple, religious-minded and noble lady.

Vallabh received his early school education at Karamsad­ (today known as SARDAR SMRITI SHALA) in his ancestral village. After finishing his education at Karamsad he persuaded six other students to go with him to Petlad, a village 7 miles away, which had a school which taught English -up to the fifth standard. These seven boys hired a room in Petlad, visited Karamsad every Sunday to carry rations, and cooked their food by turns.

Vallabh was married at the age of 18 to Zaverba daughter of Desaibhai Punjabhai Patel, from the nearby village of Ghana, in 1893. His wife was a docile and gentle lady who served her husband all her life, with great devotion. Jhaverba died in January 1909, having borne two children, Manibehn and Dahyabhai, after which Vallabhbhai, thirty-three years of age at the time of his wife's death, never married nor had any known or suspected liaison with another woman.

Vallabh passed his Matriculation at the age of 22 and accepted a job with a lawyer of Nadiad and studied for the District Pleader's Examination, borrowing books from his employer. In three years he passed the examination and became a District Pleader.

In 1900, he raised a loan and set up a small office at Godhra where his elder brother Vithalbhai had been practising. When Vithalbhai shifted to Borsad, he invited his younger brother to join him at Borsad but Vallabhbhai preferred to start on his own.

Vallabhbhai specialized in criminal law and had "a beginner's luck".

After about two years Patel shifted from Godhra to Borsad. There were two reasons for this : First, Godhra was too small a place for a man of his calibre. Secondly, his brother Vithal­bhai had laid certain charges against a magistrate of Borsad and a "Commission of Inquiry" had been set up to look into the charges. It was a blow to the bureaucracy and they were conspiring against Vithalbhai. So Vallabhbhai thought it his duty to be nearer his brother to foil the designs of the officialdom of Borsad.

At Borsad his practice flourished. Patel had been anxious to go to England and study for the bar. At Borsad Patel saved enough money and quietly wrote to Thomas Cook and Son to arrange for his passage. The firm addressed their reply to V. J. Patel and as chance would have it. the letter fell into the hands of his brother, also V. J. Patel. He himself had been thinking of going to U.K., but had not saved even a penny. So he appealed to the younger brother saying, "I am the elder of the two. So let me go first. You will get an opportunity to go after I return while I shall not be able to go after you return''. Vallabhbhai in his magnanimity not only accepted his brother's request but agreed to support his family in his absence.

Vithalbhai Patel returned from England in 1908 but soon after Vallabhbhai's wife fell ill and died. So Vallabhbhai Patel could leave for England only in August 1910 and returned as full-fledged barrister in February 1913. 

On_ Patel's return to India, the then Chief Justice of Bombay, Sir Basil Scott offered him the post of a judge. But Vallabhbhai declined the offer saying that he intended to start his practice in Ahmedabad. As before Patel continued to specialize in criminal cases. Soon he was having a roaring practice. He was known to be the best dressed man and his office was furnished in the most modern style. He was fearless and would not tolerate any discourtesy from the judge. He was quick to retort if a judge misbehaved or showed partiality to his opponent. Here is a description of Barrister Patel in the words of one of his close friends, G. V. Mavalankar, who became the first Speaker of the LokSabha in 1947. "A smart young man, dressed in well-cut clothes, with a felt hat worn rightly at an angle, stern and reserved, his eyes piercing and bright, not given to many words, receiving. the visitors with just a simple greeting but not entering into any conversation, and of a firm and pensive expression, almost as if he looked down upon the world with a sort of superiority complex, talking with an air of confidence and superiority whenever he opened his lips. Such was the new barrister, who had come to Ahmedabad for practice.'' 

Patel had not become a slave to his briefs. He had made it a point to visit the Gujarat Club every evening for a game of bridge. There lie attracted people by his casual but caustic comments. The beauty was that even his most biting sarcasm was without any malice. He was also an expert bridge player And the story goes that one Mr. Wadia, who was too proud of his game, challenged Patel for a game of bridge. Patel accepted the challenge but wanted the stakes to be five pounds a hundred in place of a penny a point. Wadia agreed. On the first day Wadia, the veteran player lost £20 and on the second day 30 more. Mrs. Wadia appeared on the scene and requested Patel to stop the play which he promptly did.

Barrister Patel had now reached the peak of his professional glory and was earning a fortune. But he gave up his practice in, 1919 when he was drawn to public work. 

It was in 1919 that Patel came in contact with Gandhi when the latter had shot into limelight due to his Champaran Satyagraha. It was about this time that Gandhi was elected President of the Gujarat Sabha. Its first political conference was held at Godhra in 1917. Vallabhbhai Patel was elected its Secretary. It was the Gujarat Sabha that brought together the two later became famous as the "Father of the Nation" and the "Builder of the Nation." Patel was so much impressed by Gandhi that he became his devoted disciple. As S.K. Patil has put it "The year 1917 brought a revolutionary change in Vallabhbhai's life-a change that pushed him into public life and made him the most popular leader that he was. This was the year when the Guru and the disciple met. The Guru was Mahatma Gandhi and the disciple was Vallabhbhai Patel. The relation between the two had something of a divine touch in it." 



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TODAY THAT DAY : 25 OCTOBER 1946 : 13 Killed, 26 Injured in New Riots In India.

26th October 1946 - Gloucestershire Echo



Police opened fire three times in Calcutta to-day, where 12 people were killed and 25 injured in disturbances, according to reports from the city. In Bombay police also opened fire after incidents in which one person was killed.

Martial law has been proclaimed in towns in the South Indian State of Travancore following disturbances attributed to "Communist Activities."

Twelve people were killed and 25 injured in incidents in Calcutta and its northern suburb Cossipore, up to 1 pm (local time) to-day. The police opened fire three times.

Police opened fire on an unruly crowd which collected in the centre of Bombay to-day after a collision between two lorries. Two people were wounded one of the whom died, and official communique stated.

Martial law has been proclaimed in Ambalapudha and Shertally in Travancore the South Indian prince-ruled State, following disturbances, it was announced to-day from Bombay.

Travancore State authorities attribute the disturbances to "Communist activities."

Eight stabbing incidents in Central and northern Bombay were also reported this morning.


Four of the five Moslem League members of the Indian Interim Government were sworn in at a cabinet meeting at which Lord Wavell, the Viceroy, presided to-day, New Delhi radio stated.

The Ministers were Liaquat Ali Khan (Finance), Mr. I. Chundrigar (Commerce), Sardar Abdur Rab Rishtar (Communications), and Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan (Health). 

The league's fifth nominee to the Cabinet Mr. Jogendra Nath Mandal, Scheduled Caste representative from Bengal, took charge of his office by telegram.

After the ceremony the full Cabinet met for half an hour after which Pandit Nehru and Liquat Ali Khan had a brief conference with the Viceroy. 

The four Moslem League members had earlier called on Mr. Jinnah, President of the Moslem League, who wished them "Godspeed on the new road."

New Delhi radio added : "A crowd who had collected outside the Viceroy's palace cheered the MOslem League leaders and demonstrated against the Congress members of the Interim Government"

Congress tricolor flags on the cars of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, The Vice-President, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and other Congress members were torn of by demonstrators.


Letter to Vallabhbhai Patel from Honorable Rajendra Prasad - First President of India 07 August 1948

Letter to Vallabhbhai Patel from Honorable Rajendra Prasad - First President of India 07 August 1948

Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Shri R.R. Diwakar and Shri Satyanarian Sinha at the Hon'ble Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Deputy Prime Minister of India, Patel & Miss. Maniben Patel

Vallabhbhai Patel
Camp : Pilani
Jaipur State,

7th August 1948

My Dear Vallabhbhai,

Here is a letter received from a gentleman whom I do not know. He, however represents a not inconsiderable opinion in the Orissa States, The people of course, have had never and opportunity of declaring whether they would like to have a separate union of their own or be merged in the Provience of Orissa. The people of Mahratta States got that opportunity and they decided in favour of merger. It is not safe to assume that all such opinion is inspired by the Rulers. Whether there is merger or not, the Rulers of course cease to have any power, but the opinion of the people should not be ignored. At any rate, it should be ascertained.

Yours Sincerely

Rajendra Prasad

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
New Delhi

Enclosure : 

(A letter from Jaladhar Deb to Dr. Rajendra Prasad)
Bobbili House, Maharanipeta, Waltair.
Courtesy : Dr. Rajendra Prasad Correspondence & Selected Documents Vol 10 

Entry Into Public Life

Entry Into Public Life

The year 1916 was a landmark in the history of the Congress and a turning point in career of Sardar Patel. He Placed his services at the disposal of the Mahatma and soon became one of his trusted lieutenants. He entered the Ahmadabad Municipality, the first step to his public career. It took him little time to make his mark. The thoroughness of his work as the Chairman of the Sanitary Committee won him universal applause. His duties were heavy but he stood at his post under all trying conditions.

He showed his mettle when plague broke out in the city in October 1917; he moved with the Municipal staff for taking effective preventive measures under his personal care. This was a new departure in the outlook and method of service of city fathers. 

Vallabhbhai and Gandhiji came into close contact when the latter accented the Presidentship of the Gujarat Sabha in 1917. The success of the Champaran campaign where the technique of non-violence was tried out for the first time electrified the members of the Club. The Sardar who for long had sat apart sneering at the new spiritual force in Indian politics began to accept the Gandhian creed.

It was a red letter day for the Bombay Provincial .Congress Committee when it elected him as its President in 1921. The same year he was chosen as the Chairman of the Reception Committee of the 36th session of the Indian National Congress. With his inimitable drive the Sardar collected a crore of rupees to conduct the historic struggle launched by Gandhiji at this time.

His example fired the imagination of many prominent lawyers who renounced their huge incomes and dedicated themselves to the service of the nation. Boys and girls emptied schools and colleges. Women flocked in thousands and poured their jewellery into Gandhiji's begging bowl. Such was the enthusiasm that had been generated for the cause of national liberty by the peasant leader of Gujarat.

The first success of Gandhiji's technique of non-violence at the Bardoli campaign, was due to the erstwhile sceptic lawyer who had become the most devout follower of the Mahatma, the perfect instrument, the vehicle supreme, of the Master. Before the Government knew what was happening 80,000 people had been organised into one compact unit which the Raj tried with desperate tricks to break up. But all in vain. From that day, the Sardar stands for' efficiency of organisation, thoroughness in handling 'a situation and mastery in management of big things.

The British rulers stooped as low as they could at the Bardoli campaign - 17000 men and 40000 buffaloes were locked up in a small insanitary house for over three months. Stench and disease ate into their vitals. Yet the call of the Iron Man strengthened their resolve to hold on. He had undermined British fortifications. He ran daggers in to the heart of bureaucracy while dealing sledge-hammer blows to fifth columnists.  The Government was forced to come to peace with the Congress. The Government offered terms to Sardar Patel who spurned them. But Gandhiji accepted the proposals and the Sardar had no way but to acquiesce. He was great disciplinarian; he knew not only now to command but obey as well. His name stands for "Discipline" not only in the Congress but in the whole theatre of Indian politics.

The technique adopted by Sardar Patel at Bardoli set the model for future campaigns and undermined the Imperial citadel. When the Congress organisation was banned, he made every home a Congress office and every soul a Congress organisation. He turned every village into an armed camp and made the people cast off their fear. He taught them to be self-rehant, resourceful and patient. The art of managing men he knew very well. His sardonic humour goaded his listeners into action.

in the historic "Dandi March" launched by Gandhiji in March 1930 Sardar Patel was the Grand Commander. He delivered fiery speeches to the villagers all along his route and stirred up the masses to action. His arrest only electrified the atmosphere; the people of Ahmadabad took a solemn pledge to follow their leader to the dark cell. A mighty revolution swept over India. But the people declared that despite severe provocation to violence their salvation lay in Truth and non-violence.

Sardar Patel was released to relieve the situation but was again re-arrested along with his daughter Maniben. Gandhiji and Patel were imprisoned together, and the master, on his release, spoke of the glorious attributes of his disciple. The Sardar's motherly qualities became as much known as his bravery during his incarceration. 




Dear Friend

I have received your letter of the 8th inst. You have given much of the past history of Kashmir, which has been very useful in understanding the background of the present whole unfortunate episode. I have done my best to set matters right. You must have seen that Panditji has himself frankly withdrawn some of the misstatements that were made by him on false information being supplied to him. The resolution passed by the All-India States Peoples' Conference under his presidentship has also been such as would remove tension, clear the atmosphere and bring about an honorable settlement. I realise the difficulties and hardships of a small community like yours in Kashmir. The question of minorities in India has become complicated and the Hindu Muslim question particularly requires careful as well as tactful handling. Political agitation should, as far as possible, be kept apart from Communal questions. The two should not be mixed up. How far Sheikh Abdullah has erred in his present movement and whether the error, if any, was bonafide or not, requires investigation. The excesses committed by the military and police under orders of the State, if any, may also require investigation. Such post-mortem examination of political upheavals or communal troubles are not always safe. I understand that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is himself coming there as a messenger of peace to bring about honourable settlement of this vexed question. After all, he is also a Hindu and that a Kashmiri Hindu, and he is one of our foremost patriots and one of the greatest leaders of modern India. He is, as all human beings are, liable to err. But all his actions are governed by considerations of highest patriotism. Therefore you need not be afraid of him or his actions, Let us hope this unfortunate trouble in Kashmir will end soon and it will leave no bitterness behind. ­

Yours sincerely,

Vallabhbhai Patel

** Courtesy Sardar Patel’s Correspondence 1945-50 Page 2-3

Governing Despite Muslim Opposition


The new All Indian Cabinet which took office on September 2 has been violently opposed by members of the Muslim League, Recently Mr. Jinnah, their leader, visited the Viceroy to discuss the points at issue, and this was preceded by a meeting between the Viceroy and Mahatma Gandhi, the spiritual leader of the Congress Party. In spite of these difficulties, the All Indian Government has begun functioning and faces its task with determination.

Hindu Migration worries India

Hindu Migration worries India

*Date : 14 January 1949*
*Supplement to The Nambour Chronicle*
*Hindu Migration Worries India*
(By R. Satakopan)

New Delhi, India (Associated Press).
The exodus of Hindus in large numbers from East Bengal has become a headache to the Governments of both India and Pakistan. It tops the list of subject being discussed here at the Inter-Dominion Conference.

The problem at one stage reached such acute dimensions that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Deputy Prime Minister for India, openly demanded from Pakistan sufficient territory to resettle 13,000,000 (One Crore Thirty Lacs) Bengali Hindus “if Pakistan is determined to turn them out of her dominions.”

Known as “the man of few words.” Sardar Patel said in a public address in Nagpur : *“We have to tell Pakistan plainly that this problem should either be solved amicably or it is likely to prove a source of trouble between the two dominions. We cannot take things lying down.”*

India and Pakistan differ on the questions of numbers that have migrated and the reasons that have provoked their movement. Pakistan says that 400000 have left East Bengal. But Indian figures ranges between 1500000 and 2000000. Dr. B. C. Roy, Prime Minister of West Bengal, asserts that in Calcutta alone 800000 Hindus are refugees, while in the interior of his province an equal number has moved in to live with their relatives. In Assam, Roy says, the number cannot be less than 400000. However, there are still 11500000 Hindus in East Bengal.

Pakistan adduces two reasons for the exodus. (1) The higher prices prevailing in East Bengal especially in rice, cloth and mustard oil, have induced large numbers of Hindus to move to West Bengal. (2) The “inflammatory” speeches of some Indian leaders and tension created by the mid-September police action in Hyderabad also contributed to this migration.
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