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The Iron-man of India

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Sadaf Khan (125) Shivangi Sharan (137) Shreya Ghosh (140) Surabhi Ramachandran (153) Surbhi Rastogi (154) Swatilekha Mukherjee (160)

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel The Iron Man of India

Some leaders are born, some become leaders by chance, by wealth and by luck, Vallabhbhai Patel was a leader by merit. His life was the gospel of devotion, determination, defiance, discipline and dauntlessness. He is perhaps one of the very few Indian national leaders whose image has been magnified by each passing year. He was fondly addressed as Sardar by the farmers, an epithet that has since been synonymous with his name. He is also known as the Patron Saint of Indias Civil Services and is often addressed as Indias Bismarck or the Iron man of India for giving India its present geographical identity.

This man of steel learnt early to be tough as for he was born as the middle child in a family of peasant proprietors. His childhood, the rough schools he went to as a boy, and the courts where he defended alleged criminals also contributed to his mental muscle and stern appearance. This tough man smiled at the world and at gloomy times, helped others smile.

On the eve of their departure, the British announced that their control would lapse not only on the British territory, but also on the native states. This meant that about 625 small and big states would be free and would have to be united. Given this situation, the First Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel decided to ensure internal stability by building a frame of trust. To help him accomplish this task, he trusted the I.C.S officers who were not trusted by most other leaders of the congress. By this he not only won over their support but also leveraged their capability in nation building. Further he was also responsible for convincing the local princes to give up their supremacy and join the process of unifying India politically. His famous statement, If at all, any sense of supremacy is required, it would be with common understanding and for common good. We are at a momentous stage in the history of India. By common endeavor, we can raise the country to new greatness, while lack of unity will expose us to unexpected calamities. I hope the Indian States will realize fully that if we do not cooperate and work together in the general interest, anarchy and chaos will overwhelm us all great and small, and lead us to total ruin" won over all the princes and left his critics in awe of him. He single handedly is responsible for the present geographical identity of India. This fearless act earned him the epithet of the Iron Man of India. Leadership Qualities: Delegation, Trust, Relationship Building, Interpersonal influence, Diplomacy, Invincibility, Persuasion

When the Pakistani invasion of Kashmir began in September 1947, Patel immediately wanted to send troops into Kashmir. But agreeing with Nehru and Mountbatten, he waited till Kashmir's monarch had acceded to India. Patel, along with Defence Minister Baldev Singh administered the entire military effort, arranging for troops from different parts of India to be rushed to Kashmir and for a major military road connecting Srinagar to Pathankot be built in 6 months. Patel strongly advised Nehru against going for arbitration to the United Nations. He did not want foreign interference in a bilateral affair. Patel opposed the release of Rs. 55 crores to the Government of Pakistan, convinced that the money would go to finance the war against Indian Kashmir. The Cabinet had approved his point but it was reversed when Gandhi, who feared an intensifying rivalry and further communal violence, went on a fast-unto-death to obtain the release. Patel, though not estranged from Gandhi, was deeply hurt at the rejection of his counsel and a Cabinet decision. However history is proof that relations between India and Pakistan did not improve after that. Leadership qualities: Foresight, Tenacity, Decision making skills Patel organized the peasants of Kheda and Bardoli in Gujarat in non-violent mass civil disobedience against the oppressive tax policies imposed by the British Raj. This victory after intense struggle earned him the title Sardar from the farmers. He soon shot to fame and was elected as Ahmedabad's municipal president in 1922, 1924 and 1927. During his terms, Ahmedabad was extended a major supply of electricity and underwent major education reforms. When a delegation of Gujarati farmers came to him citing their inability to send their milk production to the markets without being fleeced by intermediaries, Patel exhorted them to organize the processing and sale of milk by themselves, and guided them to create the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers' Union Limited, which preceded the Amul milk products brand. Leadership qualities: Intolerance for injustice, Action oriented, Team builder In 1936, India saw a clash between two of its most prominent leaders - Patel and Nehru. Patel opposed the declarations of the adoption of socialism at the 1936 Congress session, which he believed was a diversion from the main goal of achieving independence. Given this situation, Gandhi asked all 16 states representatives and Congress to elect the right person and Sardar Patel's name was proposed by 13 states representatives out of 16, but Patel respected Gandhi's request to not be the first prime minister and handed over charge to Nehru. In another similar incident, he was also instrumental in the founding the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, and for his defense of Indian civil servants from political attack, he is known as the "patron saint" of India's services. Leadership Qualities: Sacrifice, Humility, Trust

Leadership Style
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patels leadership style can be described by the phrase Iron fist in velvet glove diplomacy. It indicates a tender balance between being task oriented while placing emphasis on relationships. Sardar always leveraged the potential in people to achieve his tasks. He made them believe that they also believed what he believed. As a result they would be participating in all his movements because they wanted to do so. His straight forward knowledgeable demeanor inspired charisma for a huge mass of Indians. He was admired for his invincible determination and fearlessness.

His strength of character, the sharpness of his mind, his organizing skills, and all his energy was offered up in achieving the freedom of India under Gandhis leadership, and after independence for Indias consolidation. We admire a man who rises to a political or financial peak, but are moved by one whose sole purpose of life is the well being of his compatriots. And we are moved even more when we discover that next to the steel in his soul is tenderness for colleagues and the readiness to accept whatever destiny ordains. In successive stages of his life, Vallabhbhai Patel showed defiance of the oppressed, a trial lawyers brilliance, the daring to give up a flourishing career, the discipline of a soldier in freedoms battles, the strategies of a general, indifference as a prisoner of the Raj, the generosity of the strong, the firmness of a patriot, and the farsightedness of a statesman.


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