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Remembering Vinoba Bhave


Dr. Vipul Chalotra
Vinoba Bhave, a rational thinker and spiritualist lived a very austere and tranquil life. He was the blatant follower of Mahatma Gandhi and carried out most of his works and looked after the ashrams of Gandhi ji. Vinoba  Bhave was born in a Brahmin family on 11 September, 1895 in Gagode village, district Kolaba of Maharashtra State. He was son of Sh. Narahari Shamboo Rao and Smt Rukhmani Devi. His mother Rukmani Devi was a pious lady and quite religious and He was influenced by his mother from the very beginning of his life and was also named as Vinayak by his mother. He from the very beginning used to live with saints and was largely influenced by saints’ behaviour. The company of the saints in Maharashtra encouraged him to be laudable and spiritualistic. He pioneered Indian Freedom movement, Bhoodan Movement and Sarvodaya Movement. He used to follow the Gandhian philosophy : the right wing. His religious views were on Hinduism- Egalitarianism. He had published many works, prominent among those are “Talks on the Gita” which stated his spiritual concern, Teesri Shakti & “Swarajya Shastra” which contoured his political interest, “Bhoodan Ganga” portrayed his social practice and “Moved by love” as his autobiographical book. Vinoba Bhave died on 15 November 1982.
Vinoba Bhave remained erudite disciple of Mahatma Gandhi and had followed the paths prescribed by him. He stood as the care taker of all the Gandhiji ashrams and proceeded with his works with rich enthusiasm and utmost sincerity.  Thirty five years have passed since his death, but let us today pay immense obeisances to the this great soul.  His deeds and works cannot be overemphasized. He remained a guardian of Gandhian philosophy and had taken it to innovative heights. He is an erudite pundit of Sanskrit, Philosophy and the religious literature of the world.
The most respectable book and religious work of Vinoba Bhave is “Talks on the Gita”. These talks were delivered on 1932 in the Dhule jail. Vinoba had been incarcerated by the British for his participation in the freedom movement. There were hundreds of political prisoners lodged in that jail. How Vinoba transformed the jail life and the jailor who was the strict disciplinarian but became his admirer is a mesmerizing story. Prison inmates expressed a desire that Vinoba should speak on the Gita. Vinoba agreed to give a talk every Sunday and delivered 18 talks on the eighteen chapters. Gita  comprises of 18 chapters with 700 verses and Vinoba Ji translated all these verses in a very simple language and on going matters of that very environment. Vinoba divided “Talks on Gita” into 108 sub divisions and 432 paragraphs and wrote 540 aphorisms on each of them in Sanskrit so that the contents could be reflected upon and understood with ease.
Talking socially Vinoba Bhave worked assiduously towards exterminating social ills like inequality. He was fully Influenced by the instances set by Gandhiji and aimed to formulate a type of society as envisaged by Gandhiji in an independent India. He espoused the term Sarvodaya from Gandhiji which basically means “Progress for All”. The Sarvodaya Movement under him gained momentum and acceptances from varied quarters of India. Vinoba executed numerous programs during the 1950s, the main amongst them is the Bhoodan Movement.
Vinoba Bhave in 1951 initiated his peace-trek on foot through the violence-torn area of Telangana. On April 1951, the villagers of Pochampalli namely Harijans requested him to provide them with some 80 acres of land inorder to make a living. Vinoba at the spot requested the landlords of the village to come forward and save Harijans. What happened as to everybody’s surprise, a landlord stood up and offered the requested land to Harijans. This episode furthered a new chapter in the history of sacrifices and non-violence. This time says Vinoba was the commencement of the Bhoodan (Gift of the Land) Movement. The extraordinary movement continued for approximately thirteen years and Vinoba requested and insisted all the citizens of the country for the same. He travelled a total distance of 58741 Km. Again to his surprise he was victorious in collecting around 4.4 million acres of land, of which around 1.3 million was distributed among poor landless farmers. The movement attracted admiration from all over the world and was commended for being the only experiment of his kind to incite voluntary social justice.
During November 1982, Vinoba Bhave fell gravely ill and determined to end his life. He rebuffed to accept any food and medicine during his last days. On 15 November 1982, the great social reformer passed away.
Let us pay  obeisances to the passed away soul and   salute to the hero, the social reformer.
(The author is Assistant Professor in Department of Commerce in the  Govt. Degree   College Boys Udhampur)
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