Entry Into Politics
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Entry Into Politics
In 1917, Patel stood for an election to become the sanitation commissioner of Ahmedabad which he won comfortably. Meanwhile, Patels interest in politics grew, as he heard Gandhiji speak for the Swadeshi Movement. Inspired by the words of Gandhi, Patel started active participation in the Indian independence movement.A meeting with Gandhi at the Gujarat Political Conference in Godhra led to Patel being designated to the position of the secretary of the Gujarat Sabha, which would become the Gujarati arm of the Indian National Congress. onomically. He fought against servitude of Indians to Europeans, organized relief efforts during plague and famine in Kheda and took a leading role in the non-violent Civil Disobedience Movement against the payment of raised tax, levied by the British. His leadership activities earned him the title of Sardar.He travelled village to village, garnering support from peasants and other villagers for a state-wide revolt by refusing the payment of taxes. He laid emphasis on unity and non-violent demeanor despite provocation and also briefed the villagers of the potential hardships that they might have to face in the process.
When the revolt was launched, the British government responded by conducting raids at the holdings of the farmers. They even imprisoned thousands of villagers. The revolt had attained a national status and earned empathy from people across the country.Embarrassed by the same, the government agreed to negotiate with Patel. Not only did they suspend the payment of revenue for the year, they even scaled back the rate of tax, thus making Patel a national hero.In 1920, Patel was nominated and elected as the President of the newly formed Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee. He supported the non-cooperative movement initiated by Gandhi. Once a follower of Western fashion, Patel switched to khadi. He even organized several bonfires of British goods in Ahmedabad. Apart from these, Patel supported the empowerment of women and worked for abolishing alcoholism, untouchability and caste discrimination from the society.In his three terms as Ahmedabads municipal president, he transformed the city completely. He extended electricity, drainage and sanitation facility to all parts of the city and conducted major educational reforms. He even fought for the recognition and payment of teachers.What is interesting to note is that Sardar Patel was successful in building unity and trust among the people, who despite falling into different caste and community and divided by socio-economic lines, were united for a cause.
In 1928, the village of Bardoli suffered from famine and steep tax hikes. To curb the problem, Sardar Patel organized a struggle, which called for non-violent unity from the villagers and a demand for complete denial of the taxes to the Government. The fate of the satyagraha started in Bardoli was similar to that of Kheda as the British government agreed on repealing the tax hike. The victory brought Sardar Patel into limelight and highlighted his role as a typical Sardar or leader. Due to this, more and more people started addressing him as Sardar Patel.Vallabhbhai Patel was appointed as the interim leader of Congress in the 1931 Karachi session. During his term, Patel committed to protecting the fundamental rights and human freedom and envisioned India as a secular nation.It was during this time that the relationship between Gandhi and Patel blossomed. The two, despite having arguments and contrasting theories, shared a close bond of love, affection, trust and respect.Since 1934, Patel played a significant role in the Indian National Congress; he became chairman of its Central Parliamentary Board. His profile included raising funds, selecting candidates and determining Congress stance on issues and opponents. Though he did not contest in the election, he helped several Congressmen in getting elected in the provinces and at the national level