Political Unification and Integration of India, by Sardar
15th August 1947, India emerged from the colonial rule of the British Empire. The struggle for independence had lasted 2 centuries, countless men and women laid down their lives to ensure that we could live and breathe in a free nation. The struggle to reform the grotesque society that was prevalent during those times ran hand in hand with the struggle for freedom.
Sardar Patel took over as the nascent nation's Home Minister at a very crucial juncture in history and devoted himself wholeheartedly to ensure that the country which was already partitioned, remained intact and united.
Before independence, India was fragmented into hundreds of different kingdoms, divided by conflicting interests and ideas.
While leaving, the cunning British left to us a one-third India with few hundred kingdoms disconnected from each other. These individual kingdoms were ruled by independent Maharajas who did not believe their relationship with the new Indian State was obvious. In fact, it is said that in every 100 miles, one would stumble across another political island with a different Maharaja ruling over it. The hold of Delhi was not throughout the length and breadth today’s India.
But how did Sardar Patel see this?
"Let us develop this part of the country and let them develop the other one."
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel single-handedly took up the challenge that faced the India that came into existence on 15th August 1947. He acted with statesmanship, vision and determination and quietly cleared out the numerous labyrinths. He showed statesmanship of an unprecedented order. It was the Iron man of India who travelled the length and breadth of the nation and convinced hundreds of regional kings to merge their kingdoms with the Independent Union of India. His tireless efforts enabled the establishment of a United India where differences merge to create a stunning pool of humanity.
A man of iron will and absolute fearlessness, Sardar Patel tackled the question of 550 and odd State territories and principalities in such a strategic manner which left even his wildest critics in complete amazement. Almost within a year he redrew the map of India with every princely State joining the Indian union and thus, forming part of the political stream of life that was endowed with cultural unity and harmony.
He demolished within a few months without shedding a drop of blood (except in Hyderabad due to perverted thinking of its ruler) the monarchies which pervaded the land since the dawn of its history and handed over to Nehru a single integrated unified India on which to build a democratic edifice ; and thus he enabled Nehru to become the builder of a modern democratic India.
In the history of India that stretched over ages, India became one and united for the first time. To add to the plume, this achievement happened without shedding any blood. That was the marvel of the personality of Sardar Patel. The sterling qualities of leadership he had shown as leader of Satyagraha, flowered in greater way in the administration of the country, maintenance of law and order and ensuring stability of the country and making it invulnerable.
Whom to call the greater Indian, the one who created a single integrated India on which a democratic edifice could be built or the one who subsequently built that edifice?
Sardar Patel symbolises the lost virtues of a firm political will and a solid sense of national unity.
He visited Kanyakumari after accomplishing his task of weaving unity. While standing on the last tip of India, he said:
“You are at the feet of Mother India; close your eyes for some minutes and contemplate what lies beyond....up to the Majestic Himalayas and contemplate how all that has been woven into one great and extensive fabric.”
It is as a weaver of that extensive national fabric that the Sardar is perhaps best remembered. It is a memory that requires ceaseless reiteration!
Patric French, an eminent historian hailed that Sardar Patel was the “Real Father of the Nation”