Shall Not Pay'
Vallabhbhai lived up to his ideals.
In 1920 the Congress Party passed a resolution on non-cooperation;it resolved
not to cooperate with the foreign government in any way. Patel gave up
his practice as a barrister, which used to bring him thousands of rupees
every month. He asked people not to send their children to schools
run by the government. He founded the Gujarat Vidyapeetha to educate the
children to grow up to be patriots. He collected lakes of rupees
for this institution and built it up.
In 1923 the government ordered that
no one should carry the tricolored flag in any road in Nagpur where government
officers lived. Who could object to the display of our flag in our country?
The people decided to disobey this offensive order. They invited Vallabhbhai
Patel to guide them. As soon as he arrived the struggle grew more spirited.
Satyagrahis began to pour in from other parts of the country. The agitation
went on for three and a half months. Finally the government withdrew the
order, and the satyagraha ended in a victory for the people.
The people of Borsad Taluk were subjected
to great suffering at that time. A dacoit, Babar by name, and his gang
began to indulge in murder and looting. A police force arrived to put him
down. But the police became as much a menace as the robbers. They frightened
the people and took away money, jewels and grains. In the meanwhile the
government imposed a new tax on the people to meet the expenses of the
police force. (This kind of tax is called punitive tax'.) This was adding
insult to injury. The people grounded under the burden.
In this hour of distress Vallabhbhai
raced to the rescue of the people. He formed a team of young volunteers
from the neighboring villages for protection from the bandits. As soon
as these young men swung into action the dacoit disappeared.
Patel told the Government: "We do not
want your police force here; and we are not going to pay the new tax."
The officers of the government tried to frighten the people in a number
of ways. But their tricks were of no use. The government had to withdraw
its order tamely. Vallabhbhai's fame spread to every nook and corner of