Sardar Patel was born in 1857 at Karamsad, a village in Kaira dis­trict in Gujarat. He was a farmer by birth. In due course, he passed the Law examination. He practiced as a lawyer at Godhra. Later he went to England and became a barrister-at-law. In 1923, he became the leader of Bardoli Satyagraha. Since then, he came to be called Sardar Patel. His elder brother, Mr. Vithalbhai Patel, was the President of India Leg­islative Assembly.

He was jailed several times in connection with the freedom movement. He was the right-hand man of Mahatma Gandhi and his trusted lieutenant. In 1936, the Congress at the General Election won the majority of seats in seven provinces of British India. Sardar Patel, as the most important member of the Central Parliamentary Boarded, controlled with a firm hand the Congress ministries in the seven provinces. In 1947, India was partitioned into Pakistan and Free India. Sardar Patel was in charge of the Home Department and administered law and order.

The integration of600 Princely States and the elimination of autocratic rule of the Maharajas and Nawabs will ever stand out as his unique and greatest achievement. He did it without bloodshed and in a short span of two years. To him, goes the credit of changing the map of India. Pakistani troops attacked Kashmir and tried to secure it by force.

The Indian army landed in Kashmir by air. The tide was stemmed. The tables were turned. Pakistani troops were made to flee. Cease-fire was proclaimed in January 1949. The police action against the Nizam of Hyderabad showed his iron will. How insurmountable the difficulties and how great the opposition he did not mind.

He was essentially a man of action. He was the Steel man of India. Defeat he never knew, weakness he never felt and indiscipline he never tolerated. He was a pillar of fire and enthusiasm. He combined quick­ness of decision with resourcefulness. He was the greatest administra­tor and the best statesman that India has ever produced. His death on the 15th December 1950 left India weeping.