The Biography of Famous Personalities of India will tell you about the controversies, the dark sides of a person that you may have never heard of.
Gandhi’s True Disciple and Vinoba After Gandhi
Gandhi’s True Disciple
A country should be defended not by arms, but by ethical behaviour
On 7th June 1916 Vinoba Bhave had first time met Mahatma Gandhi and this opened a new chapter in his life. Vinoba became a member of the Ashram. Mahatma Gandhi even at the first meeting was very much impressed by his inner impulse and character. Vinoba leading part in the Ashram and became a true disciple of Bapu.
Later years of Vinoba were passed at Sabarmati Ashram where he came in close touch with Congress workers like Seth Jamnalal Bajaj and others. He took a leading part in the various activities of the Ashram. His hobbies were handspinning, organising village industries, new education and hygiene.
In 1924; Mahatma Gandhi had sent him to Vikom in Travancore State to guide and supervise the Harijan temple- entry Satyagraha. From that time onwards Vinoba had taken a keen interest in the upliftment of Harijans and he is now easily regarded as one of their best friends. Vinoba was imprisoned twice.
Vinoba was a linguist of eminence. He knew several languages. Marathi was his mother language, so also were Gujarati and Hindi. He knew Urdu, Bengali, Oriya, Punjabi and all the four South Indian languages. He had been a born Satyagrahi and was a living example of Mahatma Gandhi, after his death. He propagated Mahatma’s mission with the greatest zeal and there was no other person living in India, who had more imbibed his qualities, habits and aspirations to change the face of Mother India.
In fact, he had enlarged the scope of the mission of Mahatma Gandhi by starting the Bhoodan movement which was unparalleled in the history of the world.
When Vinoba was in Kashmir during his Bhoodan yatra his prayer meeting talks were full of quotations from the Quran. He had learnt Arabic to study the Quran in the original. His explanation of passages from the Quran fascinated the Muslims of Kashmir. They were attracted to this holy man whose appearance was also like that of a Muslim fakir.
They asked him, “Are you a Hindu or a Muslim?”
He said “I am a Hindu and a Muslim, I am also a Christian and a Sikh.”
Narrow-minded followers of fundamental religions are only Hindus or only Muslims. Broad-minded spiritual aspirants and teachers are Hindus, Muslims and also followers of all true religions.
The success of the Bhoodan movement arose precisely because it had been given through Vinoba Bhave, the colour of Yagna to the masses.
Once, Vinoba was walking in Kashmir. The group went near the Line of Control between the Indian side of Kashmir and the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The guide explained to Vinoba the situation on the border and showed him the position of the Indian Army on the one side and the ‘enemy pickets’ on the other side of the border.
Vinoba told him, “Do not call them enemies. Nobody is our enemy. They are our neighbours. Call them neighbours.”
There Vinoba spoke to a group of children. He made them shout the slogan, Jai Jagat. He insisted on saying “Not Jai Hind – victory to India, but Jai Jagat – victory to the world. Let every one win. Let our neighbours also prosper.”
The children shouted Jai Jagat with gusto. Vinoba said, “Let the children in Pakistan hear your shout, let them feel happy that we wish the whole world well.”
Vinoba Bhave was a living saint and no single personality could attract the Indian masses more than him. In habits he was a true representative of the teeming millions of India.
Vinoba After Gandhi
In this world of chance and change and mutability, the Fulfillment of any resolve depends on the will of the Lord.
The death of Mahatma Gandhi upset Vinoba Bhave. He became silent. Soon he overcame his grief and agreed to address public meetings to dissuade people from killing each other. “His (Gandhiji’s) death was a glorious one. He died when his whole mind was concentrated on God. And, therefore, there is no cause for grief or dismay.” He asked people not to do anything “which may cause pain to Gandhiji…”
Even as the situation got under control, the problem of refugees and their rehabilitation increased. Many of the refugees had lost their kith and kin, or were deprived of their property. They could not be rehabilitated by the Government machinery alone. It needed persons as sensitive as Vinoba Bhave. So, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru invited Vinoba Bhave to help the Government in the relief and rehabilitation work of the refugees.
On receiving the message Vinoba reached Delhi on March 30, 1948. He held a meeting there and said, “It is, of course, necessary to investigate the sufferings of the refugees. But this is not my main task. My basic mission is to replace the existing atmosphere of hatred and bitterness with climate of peace, harmony and goodwill. Violence cannot be met with violence. Love alone can generate a helpful atmosphere. This cannot be done by the Government…”
Vinoba Bhave spent about ten months among the refugees in and around Delhi. Vinoba openly spoke against politicising religion, “Religion is a personal affair…A musical instrument produces sweet music only because different notes are harmonized. If an instrument has just one note, it will lose its rich melody.”
People came in large numbers to listen to him. Patiently listening to their sorrowful tales, wiping their tears, Vinoba Bhave established a personal relationship with the refugees. He never stayed at one place or in one camp for a long time. He was always on the move, trying to do as much good for the people as he could.
In fact, Vinoba would be seen walking from one refugee camp to another, making appeals to forget the past. He asked people not to be guided by what ‘Pakistan is doing or what is happening to your relatives in Pakistan’. He requested the people to consider themselves as citizens of secular India and not of a Hindu rashtra.
Thanks to Vinoba Bhave, the Government was able to solve the problem of the Meos Muslims. These people had earlier gone to Pakistan leaving their property in India. In their absence, the Hindus acquired that property. As the Meos returned to India, they reclaimed their property. The Government did not know how to solve the sensitive issue. Vinoba then came forward. He appealed to the Hindus to return their property and, as compensation, got them land from the Government elsewhere.
After completing his mission in Delhi, Vinoba Bhave went to Punjab, Bikaner, Ajmer, Hyderabad and Baroda. Wherever he went, people came in thousands with their problems.
Vinoba Bhave tried to help them in whatever way he could. “India belongs to all communities. We are born of the dust of this land and would return to it. We should, therefore, love one another, have room without any caste distinction, to restore self-respect among the poor. He wanted a council to own the village land. In fact, Vinoba said, “Bhoodan is not a gift but sharing. No one can be ‘owner’ of land or property. Everything belongs to society, to God, and if God is the Father and the Mother, all the children have a share in everything that belongs to them.”
In 1958, Vinoba Bhave received the honour of the Magsaysay Award.