Acharya Vinoba Bhave : Freedom Fighter who is lost in the pages of history

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Indian Independence Movement was a movement of common man for which our true brave freedom fighters sacrificed evrything- their life, their family, their career because the only goal of their life was Independence of motherland but it is very unfortunate that today those heroes are lost in the pages of history and todays generation has became ignorant of their sacrifices Acharya Vinoba Bhave is one such hero without whom the story of social equality is incomplete.

 Acharya Vinoba Bhave:-

  • Vinayak Narahari "Vinoba" Bhave was a Gandhian leader who fought for the rights of the deprived section of society. He is best known for the Bhoodan Movement  (Gift of the Land). He is considered as a National Teacher of India and the spiritual successor of Mohandas Gandhi. Acharya Vinoba Bhave once said "All revolutions are spiritual at the source. All my activities have the sole purpose of achieving a union of hearts".
  • Vinoba Bhave was born into a Brahmin family at Gagode in Kolaba district, Maharashtra on 11 September, 1895. He was originally named as Vinayak Narahari Bhave. Vinayaka was brought up by his grandfather, Shamburao Bhave and was greatly influenced by his mother Rukmini Devi, a religious woman from Karnataka. Vinayak was highly inspired after reading the Bhagavad Gita, at a very young age.
  • Vinoba was deeply interested in Mathematics. In 1916, he was on his way to Mumbai to appear for the intermediate examination, it was during that time that he studied a report in the newspapers about Gandhi's speech at the newly founded Benaras Hindu University. He was so inspired by the speech that Vinoba Bhave put his school and college certificates into a fire. 

Vinoba Bhave's association with Mahatma Gandhi :-

  • Vinoba Bhave wrote a letter to Gandhi Ji and after an exchange of letters, Gandhi Ji advised Vinoba to come for a personal meeting at Kochrab Ashram in Ahmedabad. vinoba met Gandhi on 7 June 1916 and subsequently abandoned his studies.
  • In 1923 he brought out Maharashtra Dharma, a Marathi monthly which had his essays on the Upanishads. Later on, this monthly became a weekly and continued for three years. In 1925, he was sent by Gandhi to Vaikom, Kerala to supervise the entry of the Harijans to the temple.
  • In the 1930s, Vinoba became associated with Gandhi in the independence movement. He was jailed by the British government in 1923 and then again in 1925 for conspiring against the colonial rule. While he was kept in the Dhulia jail, he gave lectures to the fellow prisoners on 'Gita' which were later published as book.
  • Although till 1940 Bhave was known only to the people around him but on 5 October, 1940 Gandhi Ji introduced him to the nation. Bhave was the first person to be chosen by Mahatma Gandhi as an individual 'Satyagrahi' on 5 October, 1940.

Bhoodan Movement

  • The movement was started on 18 April 1951 at Pochampally village in Nalgonda district when Telangana peasant movement on the land issue reached the peak. It was a violent struggle launched by poor peasants against the local landlords.
  • On April 18, 1951, the Harijans of the Pochampalli village requested him to provide them with around 80 acres of land to make a living. Vinoba asked the landlords of the village to come forward and save the Harijans.
  • To everybody's surprise, a landlord, got up and offered the required amount of land he was "Shri Vedre Ramachandra Reddy Bhoodan" who got his title " Bhoodan " as he was the first donor and initiator of the great land donation movement .
  • Vinoba Bhave walked across India on foot, to persuade landowners to give up a piece of their land.  He was followed by crowds nearly everywhere he went.He walked for 13 years throughout India from 1951 till 1964 covering 70,000 Km and Garnered 42 lakh acres of land for the landless. 
  • He walked all across India asking people with land to consider him as one of their sons and so give him one sixth of their land which he then distributed to landless poor so that they could settle and grow some of their own food.This incident added a new chapter in the history of sacrifices and non-violence.
  • Then after 1954, he started to ask for donations of whole villages in a programme he called Gramdan. He got more than 1000 villages by way of donation. Out of these, he obtained 175 donated villages in Tamil Nadu alone. 
  • He also wanted peasants to give up using bullocks or tractors or other machines for agricultural purposes. This was called 'rishi-kheti'. He also wanted everybody to give up using money, this was called 'kanchan-dan'.
  • The Government of various Provinces, passed Bhoodan Acts which generally stipulated that the beneficiary had no right to sell the land or use it for a non-agricultural purpose- including forestry.

Controversy:-

Vinoba Bhave has been sometimes criticized for supporting the state of emergency imposed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Bhave advocated that the emergency was required to teach people about Discipline. Many scholars and political thinkers criticise Vinoba Bhave as an imitator of Mahatma Gandhi.

Death :-

Vinoba spent the later part of his life at his Brahma Vidya Mandir ashram in Paunar in Wardha district of Maharashtra. In November 1982 Vinoba fell seriously ill after refusing food and medicine for a few days by accepting "Samadhi Maran" / "Santhara" as described in Jainism. Bhave was the first Indian to receive international Ramon Magsaysay award for community leadership. In 1983, he was awarded the 'Bharat Ratna' after his demise.

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