As the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel organised relief efforts for refugees fleeing from Punjab and Delhi and worked to restore peace across the nation. He led the task of forging a united India, successfully integrating into the newly independent nation those British colonial provinces that had been “allocated” to India. Besides those provinces that had been under direct British rule, approximately 565 self-governing princely states had been released from British suzerainty by the Indian Independence Act of 1947. Employing frank diplomacy with the expressed option to deploy military force, Patel persuaded almost every princely state to accede to India. His commitment to national integration in the newly independent country was total and uncompromising, earning him the sobriquet “Iron Man of India”. He is also affectionately remembered as the “Patron saint of India’s civil servants” for having established the modern all-India services system. He is also called the Unifier of India.