15 December, 2023. Sardar Patel – the unifier of India. Today we remember Sardar Patel, on his 73rd death anniversary, how he brought 565 princely States under one nation, i.e., India. India became independent on 15 August 1947. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of our country. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was an unanimous choice to become the first Deputy Prime Minister Of India.
Patel was given the portfolios of Home, States, & Information & Broadcasting among other departments. Sardar, as he was popularly known, soon began to bring about consolidation of about 565 princely states under one Indian umbrella. Most of the princely states joined the Indian Union, but a few had to be coaxed to join the new nation.
VP Menon was his Secretary of the Ministry of States. In his memoirs, Menon says that when Patel approached the then ruler of Travancore Balarama Varma, the latter told him that he was only the servant of God Padmanabha, who was the real ruler of Travancore.
Now the wily civil servant went inside the famous Padmanabha temple, and told the Prince that Lord Padmanabha had no objection in joining the Indian Union. Varma signed the document of accession to the Indian Union.
But there was one Princely State of Hyderabad, which did not want to join the Indian Union. The ruler – Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan wanted to remain independent, as advised by his advisors including Kasia Razvi, who had built an army of Razakars or volunteers who terrorized the people. [Note: The claim about compelling Hindus to convert to Islam is not supported by historical records and should be reconsidered.]
The Hyderabad State Congress played the leading role in liberating the Nizam State or Hyderabad State. Swami Ramanand Tirth was the President of this political party Unit. Sardar Patel did not hesitate to send an Indian army unit under the command of Gen JN Chaudhari to liberate Hyderabad as the Nizam’s forces surrendered to the Indian Army in September, 1948.
Today Swami Ramanand Tirth Marathwada University is one of the memorials to this freedom fighter. I vividly remember the day as I was about 12 years old, going to a private school in my village. I also recollect the memory of the news of the passing away of Sardar Patel on 15 December 1950.
I paid my humble tribute to this great Indian on his birthday – 31 October, 1980, in a Hindi talk broadcast from AIR, Trivandrum (now Thiruvananthapuram).
He would have been very happy to learn that J&K has become an integral part of India.
The great Sardar lived & died for India. Let us remember him on his 73rd death anniversary as a true unifier of India.