Digital District Repository Detail | Digital District Repository | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Digital District Repository Detail

Acharya Vinoba Bhave

Gondia, Maharashtra

June 22, 2022

Vinayak Narahari Bhave, commonly known as Vinoba, was born at Gondia in Maharashtra, on 11 September 1895. Educated at Baroda in the Government High School, he was a brilliant student, but he soon lost interest in conventional studies. He passed the Matriculation examination in 1913 and was due to appear for the Intermediate examination in 1916 for which he had to go to Bombay. Instead of going to Bombay, he detrained at Surat and proceeded to Banaras, where he studied Sanskrit and became proficient in all Hindu scriptural books. He was a self-taught multi-linguist.

After Gandhiji‘s return from South Africa early in 1915, Vinoba recognised in him the kindred-most of spirits and requested him to adopt himself as his spiritual son in 1916. In 1921, Jamnalal Bajaj requested Gandhiji to give him his best and most trusted lieutenant at Sabarmati Ashram to be sent to Wardha to start a similar Ashram. Gandhiji sent Vinoba. Jamanalal placed his whole family under his charge. Speaking about Vinoba, Gandhiji said, “He is one of the Ashram’s rare pearls – one of those who have come not to be blessed but to bless, not to receive but to give”.

Vinoba lived in accordance with the eleven vows, included in Gandhian daily prayer, viz. non-violence, truthfulness, absolute honesty, chastity, poverty, manual work, temperance, fearlessness, respect for all religions, independence in the matter of money, and non-recognition of cast distinctions. At the Ashram, he took up scavenging work and had “no trace of untouchability left in his heart”.

He was one of the moving spirits of the Nagpur Flag Satyagraha, his companions being Jamanalal Bajaj, Bhagwan Deen, and Nilkanthrao Deshmukh. In 1924, Gandhiji sent Vinoba to Guruvayur (Kerala) to participate in the Harijan Temple Entry Satyagraha. He participated in the famous ‘Dandi March’ for Salt Satyagraha in 1930, for which he was again sent to prison.

In April 1951, he started the Bhoodan Movement, with a view to bringing about fundamental social and economical changes in society by peaceful means. The movement began by way of gifts of lands to be distributed among the landless, later developing into voluntary renunciation of ownership of land in favour of village communities – Gramdan. More than four million acres of land were collected in self-sufficiency in food and clothing. His creed was, “Now that political freedom has been attained, we have to work for the establishment of equality. I have called that ‘Sarvodaya’. It is for the establishment of this that I am going from village to village”.

On the pattern of Gandhi‘s Ashram at Sabarmati, Acharya Vinoba Bhave started his own Ashram at Paunar, near Wardha, where he continued to stay till his death on 15 November 1962.

Source: Information Brochure of Commemorative Postage Stamp issued by Department of Posts.