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Indian History

Acharya Vinoba Bhave

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  • 13 Sep 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Prime Minister paid rich tributes to Acharya Vinoba Bhave on his birth Anniversary.

Key Points

  • Birth:
    • Vinayak Narahari Bhave, born on 11th September 1895, Gagode, Bombay Presidency (now in Maharashtra).
    • Eldest son of Narahari Shambhu Rao and Rukmini Devi.
      • His mother had a major influence on him. He was inspired by her to read 'The Gita'.
  • Brief Profile:
    • One of India’s best-known social reformers and a widely venerated disciple of Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi. Founder of the Bhoodan Yajna (“Land-Gift Movement”).
  • Association with Gandhi:
    • Attracted towards the principles and ideologies of Mahatma Gandhi and considered Gandhi his guru, from both a political and spiritual point of view.
    • Abandoned his high school studies in 1916 to join Gandhi’s ashram (ascetic community) at Sabarmati, near Ahmedabad.
    • Gandhi’s teachings led Bhave to a life of austerity dedicated to improving Indian village life.
  • Role in Freedom Struggle:
    • Took part in programs of non-cooperation and especially the call for use of Swadeshi goods instead of foreign imports.
    • In 1940, he was chosen as the first Individual Satyagrahi (an Individual standing up for Truth instead of a collective action) against British Raj by Gandhi in India.
    • Bhave was imprisoned several times during the 1920s and ’30s and served a five-year prison sentence in the ’40s for leading nonviolent resistance to British rule. He was given the honorific title acharya (“teacher”).
  • Role in Social Work:
    • Worked tirelessly towards eradicating social evils like inequality.
    • Influenced by the examples set by Gandhi, he took up the cause of people who were referred to as Harijans by Gandhi.
    • He adopted the term Sarvodaya from Gandhi which simply means “Progress for All”.
      • The Sarvodaya movement under him implemented various programs during the 1950s, the chief among which is the Bhoodan Movement.
  • Bhoodan Movement:
    • In the year 1951, the Harijans of the Pochampalli village of Telangana 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. and a landlord got up and offered the required land. This incident added a new chapter in the history of sacrifices and non-violence.
    • It was the beginning of the Bhoodan (Gift of the Land) movement.
    • The movement continued for thirteen years and Vinoba toured the length and breadth of the country, a total distance of 58741 Km.
    • He was successful 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.
  • Religious Work:
    • In 1923, he brought out 'Maharashtra Dharma', a monthly in Marathi, which had his essays on the Upanishads.
    • He set up a number of Ashrams to promote a simple way of life, devoid of luxuries that took away one’s focus from the Divine.
    • Established the Brahma Vidya Mandir in 1959, a small community for women, aiming at self-sufficiency on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings.
    • He took a strong stand on cow slaughter and declared to go on fast until it was banned in India.
  • Literary Work:
    • His important books include: Swarajya Sastra, Geeta Pravachane, Teesri Shakti or The Third Power etc.
  • Death:
    • Died in 1982, Wardha, Maharashtra.
  • Awards:

Source: PIB

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