Dec 2, 2010

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and his daughter Manibehn Patel - 1946

Vallabhbhai Patel and Industrialist G. D. Birla. Manibehn in the back.

Vallabhbhai Patel (Center),with his daughter & Indian politico Acharya J. B. Kripalani (Left), outside the palacial home of Industrialist G. D. Birla after a press conference.

Image Source: Life Archive Hosted by Google.
Photographer: Margaret Bourke-White

Vallabhbhai Patel (31 October 1875 – 15 December 1950) was a political and social leader of India who played a major role in the country's struggle for independence and guided its integration into a united, independent nation. He was called as "Iron Man Of India" In India and across the world, he was often addressed as Sardar which means Chief in many languages of India.

Vallabhbhai Patel was employed in successful practice as a lawyer when he was first inspired by the work and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. Patel subsequently organised the peasants of Kheda, Borsad, and Bardoli in Gujarat in non-violent civil disobedience against oppressive policies imposed by the British Raj; in this role, he became one of the most influential leaders in Gujarat. He rose to the leadership of the Indian National Congress and was at the forefront of rebellions and political events, organising the party for elections in 1934 and 1937, and promoting the Quit India movement.

As the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India, Patel organised relief for refugees in Punjab and Delhi, and led efforts to restore peace across the nation. Patel took charge of the task to forge a united India from the 565 semi-autonomous princely states and British-era colonial provinces. Using frank diplomacy backed with the option (and the use) of military action, Patel's leadership enabled the accession of almost every princely state. Hailed as the Iron Man of India, he is also remembered as the "Patron Saint" of India's civil servants for establishing modern all-India services. Patel was also one of the earliest proponents of property rights and free enterprise in India. (Wikipedia)

Manibehn Patel (1904 – 1988) was the daughter of Indian leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and an Indian freedom fighter. Educated in Bombay, Manibehn adopted the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi in 1918, and started working regularly at his ashram in Ahmedabad. She participated in the Non-Cooperation movement and the Salt Satyagraha and was arrested for long periods. In the 1930s, she became her father's personal aide, also caring for his personal needs. But she again participated in the Quit India movement and was imprisoned from 1942 to 1945.

Manibehn Patel would serve her father closely until his death in 1950. After moving to Bombay, she worked for the rest of her life with numerous charitable organizations and for the Sardar Patel Memorial Trust, and wrote her memoirs on the freedom struggle and her father's life. (Wikipedia)