Thursday, January 18, 2018
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sardar patel

Today also happens to be Sardar Patel’s birthday. I recall seeing his robust, impressive personality when he was walking with Congress leaders at the Meerut AICC session. Cambridge School Delhi, where I then studied, took us there to have a look at the patriotic show of strength. The other figure I remember is that of Sarojini Naidu.

I also remember listening to the live broadcast of Sardar Patel on the evening of January 30 when, following Nehru’s  famous speech, ‘The light has gone out of our lights’ , the  Home Minister took the mike and consoled the nation over the colossal , irreparable loss suffered.  I also recall watching Sardar Patel from the gates of Barnetts as  the Iron Man stood along with Pandit Nehru and others in the van that carried the urns of Gandhiji’s ashes to Sangam  via MG Marg on February 12, if I remember rightly. There he stood as firm as a rock with the shawl round his shoulders. Lord Mountbatten too was there and several others.
And then I remember my classroom in Government Inter College Allahabad. It was the fee day- 15th of December, 1950. Can you imagine our fees? It was just Rs4.50 per month. Our class teacher, Mr R.P.Verma, a true Gandhian and  a relative of Lal Bahadur Shastriji, was realizing the fees in the first period. He took the fees and then announced: ‘Boys, our Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel has passed away. The school is being closed for the day as a mark of respect to the memory of the departed soul’ .

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