Sardar Patel’s role in our freedom struggle was of crucial significance. No less important was his role in building a new India. While Gandhiji gave to our national movement a strong moral basis and Jawaharlal Nehru imparted to it a historical perspective, it was Sardar Patel who gave to our freedom struggle a practical and organizational under-pinning. In the early years of our freedom he worked with all his acumen and tenacity of purpose to maintain the unity and integrity of the country. The merger of the princely states in the Indian Union was the culmination of this work.
Sardar Patel with deep understanding of men and matters ensured that the merger took place as swiftly and as painlessly as possible. Perhaps, in historical terms, there was a certain inevitability about the merger but Sardar Patel’s greatness lay in the finesse with which he accomplished the merger and relative absence of bitterness and animosity in its wake. He laid a firm foundation for the unity of the country. He also created the conditions for those who followed, to build upon it.
Sardar Patel’s courage, endurance, iron nerve, scintillating brilliance and unflinching determination were evidenced early in his life as a student and as a lawyer. These were the qualities which made him a great champaigner and stood him and the country in good stead when the challenges came. The satyagraha at kheda in 1918 which he organized in close association with Mahatma Gandhi brought out strikingly the multifaceted character and brilliance of the Sardar.
Time and again, Vallabhbhai Patel displayed his great orgaisational skill, The strength of his character and his intellectual brilliance. The satyagraha was marked by a struggle. To Vallabhbhai Patel and the peasants it was a struggle.
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