(b. 31 Oct. 1875, d. 15 Dec. 1950).
Deputy Prime Minister of India 1947–50
A successful criminal lawyer born at Nadiad, he went to England (1910–13) to be admitted to the Bar. There, he was profoundly influenced by Naoroji. Upon his return he became a successful lawyer in Allahabad, and in 1917 he became active in local politics. In that year, Patel became a loyal follower of Gandhi, supporting him in all his major campaigns. Although less well known than Jawaharlal Nehru, he gained a firm hold of the organization of the Indian National Congress (INC). In the end, however, what counted more was Gandhi's favour, so that the more moderate and conciliatory Patel was reduced to playing second fiddle to Nehru.
As Home Minister from 1946 he was responsible for the most successful achievements of Nehru's administration. He transformed the INC from a popular movement into an organized political party. Of even greater achievement was his successful creation of a viable administrative and governmental structure for an independent India. Most significantly, he oversaw the transformation of the 562 princely states into twenty‐six viable administrative units which formed an integral part of the Union of India.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Politics.