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 Vallabhbhai Patel (1875 - 1950)
Vallabhbhai Patel was born in Gujarat. He studied law in England but returned (1915) to India and practiced in Ahmadabad. Influenced by the nationalist leader Mohandas Gandhi, he joined the civil disobedience movement and successfully organized (1928) the landowners of Bardoli against British tax increases. In 1931 he served as president of the Indian National Congress. The British imprisoned Patel a number of times for his activities.
As home minister, minister of states, and deputy prime minister (1947-1950) under Jawaharlal Nehru, Patel adroitly achieved the peaceful integration of the princely Indian states into the Union. His swift, cool reaction to Gandhi's assassination in 1948 is widely believed to have averted a possible civil war.
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