As the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India, Patel organised relief for refugees fleeing from Punjab and Delhi and led efforts to restore peace across the nation. Patel took charge of the task to forge a united India by integrating into the newly liberated nation those British colonial provinces "allocated" to India. Besides those provinces under direct British rule, approximately 565 self-governing princely states had been released from British suzerainty by the Indian Independence Act 1947. Through both frank diplomacy as well an option to deploy military force, Patel would persuade almost every princely state to accede to India. Patel's commitment to national integration in the newly liberated 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.