Haribhai M. Patel

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Hirubhai M. Patel
Born 1903
Gujarat, India
Died November 30, 1993
Occupation Civil servant, politician
Known for National security during the Partition of India (1947)

Hirubhai Mulljibhai Patel (August 27, 1904 – November 30, 1993) was an Indian civil servant who played a major role in the issues regarding internal and national security in the first years after the independence of India. From 1977 to 1980, served as the Finance Minister and later the Home Minister of India.

Early life[edit]

Patel was a Gujarati from the town of Dharmaj, Anand district. He graduated from St Catherine's College, Oxford with a major in economics and joined the Indian Civil Service.

One of his benefactors was a member of the erstwhile ICS & former chief justice of the Patna high court

Cabinet secretary[edit]

Patel became cabinet secretary to the Ministry for Home Affairs under Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in 1946, serving till 1950. Prior to independence, Patel worked with Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, the future Prime Minister of Pakistan, and Walter John Christie on the preparation and implementation of the crucial document The Administrative Consequences of Partition.[1]

He was the head of the Emergency Committee administering Delhi in the days following the outbreak of massive violence following the Partition of India in 1947. Patel headed the effort to rehabilitate millions of Hindu and Sikh refugees entering the city, while protecting the Muslims living in the city.

He continued as one of India's highest-ranking civil servants till 1959. He would be Patel's closest aide on curbing the communal violence, fighting the First Kashmir war, and integrating over 500 princely states into the Union with V. P. Menon.

Finance minister[edit]

Following the defeat of Indira Gandhi's Congress Party in the 1977 elections that ended the Indian Emergency, Patel was appointed the Finance Minister by the new Prime Minister Morarji Desai, who was leading India's first non-Congress administration. He changed many of India's socialist economic policies, ending barriers to foreign investment and reducing tariffs while protecting home industries. He was responsible for the policy that all foreign companies must form corporations with an Indian company holding a 50% stake, which caused Coca-Cola to pull out of India, but most others did not.

Home minister[edit]

Patel was later appointed Home Minister in the administration of Charan Singh, who briefly succeeded Morarji Desai in 1979. Patel was a fervent admirer of Vallabhbhai Patel, and a critic of Jawaharlal Nehru.

Other posts[edit]

Patel was the Chairman of the Gujarat Electricity Board and was a trustee and supporter of the Sardar Patel University in Anand district.

He joined the Swatantra Party of Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari, which was committed to free market economic policies.

Literary career[edit]

He wrote two books, Rites of Passage: A Civil Servant Remembers and The First Flush of Freedom: Recollections and Reflections.

He was a senior ranking functionary of the Sumati Morarjee Shipping Company after his retirement from the Indian civil service.


  1. ^ John Christie Morning Drum BACSA 1983 ISBN 0-907799-04-3 pp.95-102.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
C. Subramaniam
Finance Minister of India
Succeeded by
Choudhary Charan Singh