Gandhiji and Sardar
Vallabhabhai was not even remotely associated with Gandhiji’s these triumphs, but being a keen observer of the sociopolitical happenings around, he probably sensed a ‘Mahatma-in-making’ and began thinking of truckling his own political future with that of the sensed Mahatma. As a tentative foray into his newly found passion, in 1915, Vallabhabhai accepted the convener ship of the working committee of the Gujarat Sabha, that had chosen Gandhiji as its President. (The Sabha was later converted into Gujarat Provincial Congress Committee in 1919). While Gandhiji had been back into Champaran, on behalf of the committee, Vallabhabhai extensively toured the rain-ravaged Kheda district and first hand witnessed the miserable plight of the hapless villein, who were also being coerced into paying exploitative land revenues on the pain of for feiture of their lands, livestock and even household utensils. When Gandhiji raised the pennant of a peaceful revolt against the exploitation, Vallabhabhai was with him. Even in the absence of Gandhiji from time to time, Vallabhabhai accomplished mobilization of popular support to the agitation. Finally, the Government had to concede the demands ofthe farmers on 6th June, 1918, and stop the recovery of land revenues. Gandhiji gracefully and publicly acknowledged the valiant role of Vallabhabhai in the agitation. The Fate had ordained the Gandhi-Sardar alliance throughout the rest of their lives.
The fact that Vallabhabhai was a bom agitator is underlined by several events in his early life – right from his studentship days, his legal practice as well as Ahmedabad Municipal Board’s councillorship. But Gandhiji’s concept of peaceful, non-violent agitation through Satyagraha particularly appealed to him and he chose to stake his entire life on it. Volumes have been written on his leadership role in India’s freedom straggle, which has been taken appropriate note of in the main Thesis.
The Sardar brought to his task the spirit ofbroad vision, organizing ability, and statesmanship.He worked as a disciplined soldier under thedirection of Mahatma Gandhi. He had given to us a great example of discipline, courage, andobedience in the interest of our country.
After independence, the part played by SardarPatel was equally notable. When the transfer ofpower tOok place in 1947, there were many criticswho thought £hat the country would be disintegratedand it would not be possible for us to maintain astable administration in the country. The actionof Sardar Patel confounded all such critics.
Though the Indian States occupied nearlytwo-fifths of the area of the country included 90million people, the Sardar welded this country into a united whole without leaving much bitternessBerita by virtue of his skill, tact, and diplomacy.Many members of the Princely order today occupyimportant positions in the diplomatic service andthey are acting as patriotic citizens of the country.To this, the greatest credit is due to Sardar Patel.
His outstanding patriotism made him undergoany a(mount of sacrifice for the sake of the causeto which he was devoted and dedicated.
It is a great story that all of us know and the whole country knows. History will record it inmany pages and call him the builder and consolidator.of the new India and say many other thingsabout him. By many of us he will perhaps beremembered as a great captain of our forces in thestruggle for freedom and as one who gave us sound advice both in times of trouble and inmoments of victory; a friend and colleague and a comrade on whom one could invariably rely, as a tower of strength which revived wavering heartswhen we were in trouble.