unheard stories of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
In case of celebrities or great leaders like Sardar Patel, there can not be any unheard stories, unless one chooses to make up one as many people seem to do nowadays on Facebook or WhatsApp 😉 So, the following are perhaps less known stories about the great man, though by no means unheard of.
1. Sardar Patel lost his wife who was ailing for sometime, while he was arguing a case before a court. A note containing the news of his wife’s demise was passed on to him, which he read calmly, then folded and kept in his pocket, and continued the cross examination he was conducting. He concluded his arguments, and went on to win the case, and only then broke the sad news to others in the court.
2. Patel always seemed to have had a propensity to sacrifice his own cherished goals to make others happy. He nursed an ambition to study law in London to become a barrister, and having saved enough by dint of hard work, applied for passport and other travel documents. Due to a quirk of fate perhaps, all these papers were delivered to his elder brother, Vithalbhai Patel, under the common initials V.J.Patel. In deference to Vithalbhai’s pleadings, the Sardar gave up his own ambition,and allowed his elder brother in his place to go to London for studying law.
(However the Sardar was able to fulfill his own ambition, and successfully completed his study of law in London at the relatively late age of 36)
3. The Sardar dodged death and had miraculously escaped near fatal disasters in his life, not once, but thrice. First he survived the Bubonic plague. Then within two months of Mahatma’s assassination, Patel suffered a massive heart attack, which he was later to attribute to the bottled up grief caused by Gandhiji’s death. Timely action and combined efforts of his daughter,secretary and nurse saved his life. Again, in 1949 the plane he was travelling in developed some engine snag and lost radio contact before making emergency landing in some desert area of Rajasthan. When he returned to Delhi after the mishap, he received rousing welcome and standing ovation in the parliament of India.
4. Though Patel differed with Nehru on many issues of National importance, contrary to what is being made to appear today, personally both the leaders nurtured great respect and mutual trust for each other. When,stung by the media criticism of Home Ministry under him in the wake of Gandhiji’s assassination, Patel offered to resign, it was Nehru, along with Rajaji, who sprang to his rescue, and also refused to accept his resignation from the cabinet. Nehru also sent him a letter clearly reposing his faith in Patel.
‘Nehru sent Patel a letter dismissing any question of personal differences and his desire for Patel’s ouster. He reminded Patel of their 30-year partnership in the freedom struggle and asserted that after Gandhi’s death, it was especially wrong for them to quarrel. Nehru, Rajagopalachari and other Congressmen publicly defended Patel. Moved, Patel publicly endorsed Nehru’s leadership and refuted any suggestion of discord. Patel publicly dispelled any notion that he sought to be prime minister.’
Patel was to return the compliment later. When Nehru felt slighted at the elevation of Purushottam Das Tandon to the top post of AICC in 1950 against his own wishes and offered to resign as Prime Minister, it was Patel who dissuaded him from resigning.
Such was the relationship between Patel and Nehru.
5. Sardar Patel was a strict vegetarian.