Entry Into Politics :2.
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 Ahmedabad's 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.
To be continued ...