Chronology of Principal Events in Sardar's Life - Part 1

Chronology of Principal Events in Sardar's Life


Born on 31st October at Nadiad, Khaira District, Gujarat. Fourth son of Jhaverbhai Patel, a farmer of Karamsad in the same district, and Ladbai. Belonged to agricultural caste known as Leuva Patidar. Schooling up to English third Standard at Karamsad.


English 4th and 5th standards at Petlad, a small town seven miles from Karamsad. Lived in a rented room with four or five other boys, with seven day's ration. Walked from Karamsad to Petlad every week.


At the age of 18 married Jhaverba of Gana, a small village three miles from Karamsad.


Matriculated from a high school in Nadiad, Kaira District, at 22


Passed district Pleader's examination. Studied with books borrowed from friends. Set up independent practice at Godhra, headquarters of Panchmahals district, Gujarat. Contracted bubonic plague from a court nazir whom he nursed when an epidemic broke out in Godhra.


Shifted practice to Borsad, where he quickly made a name as a criminal lawyer.


Saved enough money to go to England to become a barrister, but postponed departure in deference to the wishes of his elder brother Vithalbhai, who came to know about his plan and wished to go first. Looked after his brother's wife while he was away.


Wife Jhaverba died after an operation in Bombay. Received a telegram containing news of her death while arguing a murder case in Borsad, but continued case until hearing was completed. In spite of pressure from friends and relations, refused to marry again.


Left for England. Admitted to Middle Temple.


Passed preliminary examination with honors, standing first in Equity. Fell ill with a tropical disease unknown in England. Doctors wanted to amputate his leg, but a German doctor intervened and cured him through an operation which he underwent without chloroform. 


Took final examination after sixth term instead of usual 12. Stood first in first class, winning a prize of £50 and exemption from two terms. Sailed for India the day after convocation.


Reached Bombay in 13th February. Refused post in Judicial Department as a lecturer in Government Law School, Bombay and left for Ahmedabad, where he established himself as foremost criminal lawyer.


Member, Gujarat Sabha, which was converted into Gujarat Provincial Congress Committee in 1919. 


Elected member of Ahmedabad Municipal Board. Election challenged and set aside. Stood in a by-election and was returned unopposed. Mahatma Gandhi, president of the first Gujarat Provincial Conference, appointed an executive committee with Patel as secretary. Impressed by Gandhi's leadership of the agitation against the British indigo planters of Champaran, Bihar. 
Conducted agitation against begar (forced labour for Government purposes). Led agitation against the appointment of a British member of the Indian Civil Service as Municipal Commissioner and secured his removal. 
As Chairman of the Sanitary Committee of Ahmedabad, stayed on in city when most of the citizens went away during an epidemic of plague. Took a leading role in helping sufferers and enforcing precautionary measures. 


Organised famine relief work in Ahmedabad district. 
Represented textile mill labour with Gandhi and Shankarlal Banker before a tribunal appointed to hear a dispute between labour and millowners. 
Put up a temporary hospital in city with grant from Municipal Board to Gujarat Sabha to combat severe influenza epidemic. Organised no-tax campaign in Kaira district along with Gandhi. During campaign Gandhi said he was testing Patel, adding later that Patel had turned out to be "pure gold." Chairman, Sanitary Committee and Public Works Committee of Ahmedabad Municipality. 
Helped Gandhi in recruitment drive for British Indian Army. They used to walk together for miles and cooked their own food. 


Chairman, :Managing Committee, Ahmedabad Municipal Board. 
Organised movement against Rowlatt Bills designed to strangle movement for self rule. Led big demonstration march in Ahmedabad on 6 April and addressed public meeting against bills. Sold publicly Gandhi's proscribed books, Hind Swaraj and Sarvodaya, and published Satyagraha Patrika in Gujarati without official declaration or permission. Government took no action. 
Helped local authorities restore peace and order after large scale disturbances leading to martial Law in Ahmedabad after arrest of Gandhi. 
Served with a show-cause notice for cancellation of his sanad (permit to practice law) for participating in a public meeting advocating satyagraha. Case ended with a warning. Refused to pay fine imposed by Government as penalty for riots in city. Sofa attached and auctioned for Rs. 100. 


Organised campaign of Congress Party in elections to Ahmedabad Municipal Board. Congress captured almost all elected seats. Discarded western dress and adopted khadi dhoti, kurta and chappals. Burnt all his foreign clothes. Way of life also changed to traditional pattern in Gujarat. Organised a conference of political workers of Gujarat in Ahmedabad and persuaded it to adopt a resolution supporting Gandhi's civil disobedience movement. 
In response to Gandhi's call at Nagpur session of Congress to collect money for Tilak Swaraj Fund, promised to raise Rs. 1 million and enrol 300,000 party members in Gujarat. Fulfilled these promises within three months. 


Elected chairman of Reception Committee of 36th session of Congress held at Ahmedabad. For first time, delegates sat on. floor and the session set new pattern in simplicity, austerity and businesslike proceedings. 
Built a hospital and maternity home on 21 acres of land along Sabarmati river at site of session. The fountain built at that time Is still there. 


Government of Bombay suspended Ahmedabad Municipality after a sharp tussle over supervision of municipal schools. Organised schools under People's Primary Edu­cation Board with public contributions. Municipality suspended. Collected Rs. 1 million for Gujarat Vidyapith in a tour which took him up to Rangoon.


All-India Congress Committee deputed him to conduct satyagraha at Nagpur in connection with British District Commissioner's ban on flying national flag in cantonment area. 

Resisted Bombay Government's levy of punitive tax on people of Borsad who were charged with harboring criminals. Tax withdrawn. Called Suba of Borsad. 


Ahmedabad Municipality reinstated. Fresh elections gave Congress Party a decisive majority in enlarged Municipal Council. Elected President of municipality. 


Passed a resolution giving notice to Ahmedabad Cantonment to pay water tax from 1920 at rate of eight annas. If tax was not paid, threatened to cut off water connection. Tax paid under protest. 
Introduced khadi uniform in municipality. Municipal work was conducted in Gujarati after he became President. His scheme for supplying pure water passed. 
Completed drainage scheme during term as President. Collected all arrears of municipal tax not paid by high officials, some well-to-do people and municipal Councillors by cutting water connections and attaching properties. 
Unprecedented rainfall caused great damage and hardship throughout Gujarat. Saved Ahmedabad from floods by getting culverts breached. Organised relief measures for flood sufferers with public contributions. Promoted grow¬more food and fodder campaigns and opened shops to sell high-quality gram, cereal and cotton seed for sowing at low cost to farmers. Received more than Rs. 10 million from Government earmarked for famine relief. A new party emerged in Ahmedabad Municipality. Clashed with it over appointment of chief officer. 


Resigned presidency. Led peasant agitation in Bardoli taluka, Surat district, against increase in land revenue rates. Bombay Government punished farmers for non¬payment by confiscating and auctioning land, crops and other property.  As agitation continued unabated, Government agreed to restore all unsold confiscated land, release satyagrahis, reinstate dismissed village officers and reduce land tax. Named Sardar of Bardoli and thereafter known as Sardar Patel. Presided over first local self-government conference in Surat. 


Presided over Maharashtra Political Conference in Poona, Toured Maharashtra, mobilising public opinion against enhanced land taxes and untouchability. 
Presided over Kathiawar Political Conference at Morvi, Toured Madras Presidency at request of C. Rajagopalachari. Presided over Tamil Nadu Political Conference at Vedaranyam, Reiterated support for Congress resolution on dominion status at conference against supporters of complete independence. Also visited Karnatak and Bihar. At Calcutta session of Congress advocated support to all-party committee headed by Motilal Nehru which recommended acceptance of dominion status as India's political goal, provided demand was granted within two years. Motilal Nehru, Congress President, moved a resolution from chair congratulating Patel and peasants of Bardoli on victory over British bureaucracy. Nominated in September as a candidate for presidency of Congress session at Lahore but withdrew in favour of Jawaharlal Nehru. 


Arrested on 7 March while addressing a public meeting at Ras village, near Borsad, a few days after Gandhi announced march to Dandi near Surat, to break salt law. Preceded marchers to arrange accommodation and food on way. Sentenced to three months' imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 500 or three weeks' additional imprisonment. Refused to pay fine and lodged in Sabarmati jail, Ahmedabad. vent on hunger-strike in jail, requesting C class diet in¬stead of A class. Request granted. Released on 26 June. Arrested when leading a procession in Bombay on 31 July and sentenced to three months' jail. Taken to Yeravda jail near Poona. On release, made a speech at Khadi Bhandar, for which he was arrested. Sentenced to nine month!' imprisonment in the second week of December. 


Released from jail in March under Gandhi-Irwin Pact. 
Presided over 46th Congress session at Karachi in last schools. Organised schools under People's Primary Edu¬cation Board with public contributions. Municipality suspended. Collected Rs. I million for Gujarat Vidyapith in a tour which took him up to Rangoon. 

...........To be Continued