Vinoba Bhave, who played an important role in India’s freedom struggle through non-violent means, has made a great contribution to nation-building. Vinoba Bhave’s original name was Vinayak Narhari Bhave. In the country, he was known as Acharya Vinoba Bhave. He was born on September 11, 1895, in Gagode village in the Colaba district of Maharashtra. His father’s name was Narhari Shambhu Rao and his mother’s name was Rukmini Devi.
Vinoba Bhave contributed as a social reformer and freedom activist. Influenced by Gandhi, he was also one of Mahatma Gandhi’s closest disciples. He considered Gandhi his guru. He started his first correspondence with Mahatma Gandhi after the latter gave an inaugural speech at the Banaras Hindu University. He was only age 20 at the time.
It was under Gandhi’s influence that Vinoba also joined the Indian freedom struggle. He participated in non-cooperation programs. In particular, he urged them to use indigenous goods instead of imports. After which mass production of fabric started here.
In 1932, Vinoba Bhave was sent to Dhulia Jail by the government for six months on charges of conspiracy against British rule. Where he gave fellow inmates an understanding of different topics of “Bhagavad Gita” in Marathi. His lectures on the Gita were collected in Dhulia Jail and later published as a Gita discourse book. He also published books on political subjects, Third Power, Swarajya Shastra, Bhoodan Ganga on social subjects and an autobiography inspired by love.
Until the year 1940, Vinoba Bhave only knew the people around him. On October 5, 1940, Mahatma Gandhi issued a statement introducing Vinoba to the nation. He was Gandhi’s chosen one as the first satyagrahi to join the freedom movement.
Vinoba Bhave was a major contributor to the Bhoodan movement for nation-building. In 1951, Vinoba Bhave started a peace march on foot from the violent Telangana region. On April 18, 1951, the people of Pochampalli village requested him to give them about 80 acres of land to make a living. Vinoba asked the village homeowners to come forward and save the people. At that time everyone was surprised a landlord stood up and offered the necessary land. This event added a new chapter to the history of sacrifice and non-violence and this was the beginning of the Bhoodan movement. The movement lasted for 13 years. Vinoba managed to collect about 4.4 million acres of land at a price. Out of which land was given to about 13 lakh poor landless farmers.
At the tender age of 10, Vinoba vowed lifelong celibacy and no marriage. He spent the last years of his life in an ashram in Maharashtra. He died on 15 November 1982.
PM Modi pays tribute to freedom fighter Vinoba Bhave
(With inputs from: Rohit Mali)