Sardar Vall Bhai Patel was born on the 31st of October 1875, Gujarat. He was the fourth son
of Jhaverbhai and his wife Ladba Patel. They lived in the village of Karamsad, in the Kheda
disstrict where Jhaverbhai owned a homestead. Somabhai, Naraibhai and Vithalbhai Patel
(also a future political leader) were his elder brothers. He had a younger brother, Kashibhai
and a sister, Dahiba. As a young boy , Patel helped his father in the fields and bimonthly
kept a day-long fast, abstaining from food and water __ a cultural observance that
enabled him to develop physical toughness.
When he was seveenteenyears old, Patel’s marrage was arranged with Jhaverba, a young
girl of thirteen years from a nearby village. As per custom, the young bride would continue
to reside with her parents until her husband started earning and could establish their
Patel travelled to attend schools in Nadiad, Petlad and Borsad, living self-sufficiently with
other boys. He reputedly cultivated a stoic character __ a popular anecdote recounts how
he lanced his own painful boil without hesitation, even as the barber supposed to it
Patel passed his matriculation at the late age of 22; at this point, he was generally regarded
by his elders as an unambitious man destined for a commonplace job. But Patel himself
harboured a plan __ he would study to become a lawyer, work and save funds, travel to
England and study to become a barrister.
Patel spent years away from his family, studying on his own with books borrowed from othet
lawyers and pssed examinations within two years. Fetching Jhaverba from her parents’ home,
Patel set up his household in Godhra and enrolled at thebar. During the many years it took
him to save money, Vallabhbhai __ now a pleader __ earned a reputation as a fierce and
His wife bore him a daughter, Manibehn, in 1904 and later a son, Dahyabhai, in 1906. Patel
also cared for a friend suffering from Bubonic Plague when it swept across Gujarat. When
Patel himself came down with the disease, he immediately sent his family to safety, left
his home and moved into n isolated house in Nadiad (by other accounts, Patl spent this
time in a dilapidated temple); there, he recovered slowly.
Patel practised law in Godhra, Borsad and Anand while taking on the finacial burdens of his
homestead in Karamsad. When he had saved enough for England and applied for a pass and
a ticket, they arrived in the name of “V. j. patel,” at Vithalbhai’s home, who bore the same
Having harboured his own plans to study in England, Vithalbhai remonstrated to his younger
brother that it would be disreputable for an older brother to follow his younger brother. In
keeping with concerns for his family’s honour, Patel allowed Vithalbhai to go in his place.
He also financeed his brother’s stay and began saving again for his own goals.
In 1909, Patel’s wife Jhaverba was hospitalised in Mumbai (than Bombay) to undergo a major
surgical operation for cancer. Her health suddenly worsened and despite successful emergency
surgery, she died in the hospital. Patel was given a note informing him of his wife’s demise as
he was cross-examining a witness in court. As per others who witnessed, Patel read the note,
pocketed it and continued to intensely cross-examine the witness and won the case.
He broke the bews to others only after the proceedings had ended. Patel himself decided against
marrying again. He raised his children with the help of his family and sent them to English-medium
schools in Mumbai. At the age of 36, he journeyed to England and enrolled at the Middle Temple
Inn in London.
Finishing a 36-month course in 30 months, Patel topped his class despite having no previous college
background. Returning to India, Patel setted in the city of Ahmedabad and became one of the city’s
most successful barristers. Wearing European-style clothes and urbane mannerisms, he also became
a skilled bridge player.
Patel nurtured ambitions to expand his practise and accumulate great wealth and to provide his children
with modern equcation. He had also made a pact with his brother Vithalbhai to support his entry into
politics in the Bombay Presidency, while Patel himself would remain in Ahmedabad and provide for