After India attained independence in 1947 he became the home minister of Indian union. With great wisdom and political foresight he convinced hundreds of small princely states to merge with the Indian union. The people of these states were for merger with India and supported Sardar Patel the rules could not go against their will.
Sardar Patel dealt with them in a tactful way and convinced them finally to join the Indian Union. There were lot problems with several princely states. But Sardar Patel, true to his Gandhi principles, achieved the merger of all of them in India without any bloodshed.
His untiring efforts for uniting India and his great success in this direction brought him fame. He became known as `the iron of India’.
When India became free and Pakistan attacked Kashmir. Sardar Patel asked his Government to withhold the transfer of some cash balances to Pakistan. This transfer of cash balance was required to be done as per an agreement with Britain at the time of granting of independence.
Gandhi opposed this threatened to go on an indefinite fast. Sardar Patel immediately withdrew his proposal because he held Gandhi in such regard.
In independent India Sardar Patel headed several other government departments besides home affairs. But the integration of the princely states into the union of India remains his major achievement.
On January 30, 1948, when Gandhi was assassinated, Sardar Patel was a totally shattered man. He had lost a dear teacher, friend and the guiding spirit of his life.
Sardar Patel passed away in Bombay in December 1950. The entire nation mourned his loss.