How Vinobha Bhave intended to re-distribute the land to the poor
Vinoba Bhave, a humble spiritual leader, the first non-violent resister to the Britishers and reformer of Independent India started what we know as the Bhoodan movement – a landmark in Indian history where its mission was to persuade wealthy landowners to willingly give a small share of their land to the landless people.
Once India became an independent nation, about four years later Vinoba Bhave carried out a unique movement of his own. He travelled across all of India to convince the wealthy land-owners or land-lords to share a small area of their land with their poor and downtrodden neighbours with the condition that they can’t sell the land. Over a span of 20 years, a total of 4 million acres of land was shared across the country through this movement.
That’s how it started
Bhoodan or Land Gift movement began with Acharya Vinoba Bhave in 1951 in Telangana. An inspirational icon, Vinoba Bhave’s work & dedication impacted people all across the country. He vowed to life-long celibacy as well as selfless service for others when he was as young as 10 years old. As it is said about him, “Perhaps none of Gandhi’s followers have created so many worshippers of Truth & Non-violence, so many genuine workers as has Vinoba Bhave.”
It all began on April 18th 1951, which we now know as the historic day this movement began. Vinoba Bhave stepped into the Nalgonda district, which was the epicenter of communist activity in the region. He stayed at Pochampalli, a village with about 700 families who have him a hearty welcome. He visited the ‘untouchables’ or Harijan colony, where they asked for 80 acres of land for 40 families. As documented in history, while the discussion was going on, Ram Chandra Reddy who was the local landlord, got up and exclaimed, “I will give you 100 acres for these people.”
This made Vinoba come up with an idea, that this may have the solution for possibly resolving land issues across the country. Soon, this movement led to become the Gramdan or village-gift movement and went through many levels of allied programmes and initiatives. In October 1951 rose a demand for fifty million acres of land for the landless in the whole of India by 1957, thus turning a small goal into a mass-scale movement. The success lasted till 1957, post which it slowly faded.
Outcomes of the Bhoodan Movement
It gained a lot of success, especially in Northern India in UP and Bihar. Over 4.5million acres of land in India was given as a donation by 1957. The core belief of land being a gift of earth which belonged to everyone made its way into minds of everyone.
With time, many problems seeped into the movement later such as slow progress, bribery, donating bogus land, greed to get more land or incorrect implementation in some regions. The movement soon failed due to increasing misuse of a voluntary movement for self serving purposes by a few.
What people said of the movement?
However, this movement even gained the attention of many prominent thinkers outside India, who viewed this in light of Gandhi’s non-violence ideals and redistribution solutions. Louis Fischer said, “Gramdan is the most creative thought coming from the East in recent times.” Many books by foreign authors gave an insight into the movement as well, such as ‘The Saint on March’ by Hallam Tennyson and ‘The Dimensions of Peace’ by Chester Bowles. Even the British industrialist, Earnest Barder was impacted by this idea of giving back a small share back, and allotted 90% shares of his company to his industrial workers.
The Logical Indian looks back at this unique movement with noble intentions. Poor farmers struggle even today due to decreasing land ownership and increasing concentration of land in the hands of the rich. India perhaps needs a Bhoodan movement today to address the issue of poor farmers and farmer suicide. Despite of its fading importance and stagnation after a period of time, we can never forget Vinoba Bhave’s initiative for an attempt to give our nation a peaceful idea of solving India’s land problem by the core idea of sharing land to grow together as a society.
As the clock ticks and the day starts ending, the only thing on the mind of every woman is to rush home. From literally sprinting to informing of their location every minute to the family members, women do it all. All this for just one reason – it’s not safe to be outside after the sun sets. If by chance there is even a slight delay, the family also starts fretting.
Why is being outside after a certain time considered to be unsafe? Well, the answer can be found in the question itself. It is because, as it starts getting darker, lesser women step out and hence roads are perceived to be unsafe.
Volvo beautifully addressed this via a video, set at the background of a popular old Hindi song, showing three women and sending out a simple message that more the women on the streets, more safer it will become. This video struck a chord among a lot of people, especially women who could identify with it.
Volvo, in a bid to encourage women to step out and reclaim their city spaces, organised a night walk. Mumbai Night Walk which was organised by Volvo under the #MakeYourCitySafe initiative in association with CrossBow Miles invited all the women to participate in a great number.
The mood for the symbolic march, which was held on May 19, was set up right at the beginning of event with some soul-stirring music and talks by various artists who champion the cause of equal rights for women.
In the final leg of the movement, which was the midnight walk itself was joined by Srishti Bakshi, founder and campaign champion of CrossBow Miles, who also holds a unique feat of walking 3,800 km from Kanyakumari to Srinagar in 230 days for raising awareness for women empowerment through financial and digital literacy. She is of a strong opinion that small steps lead to bigger changes. Problems like misogyny and gender stereotyping cannot change overnight and only sustained efforts towards completely removing them can bring change.
Bakshi joined the enthusiastic crowd of women marchers who walked from High Street Phoenix to Mahalaxmi Racecourse. The event had performances by spoken word poet Simar Singh, singer Abhilasha Sinha, singer-songwriter Aarifah Rebello, rapper Sofia Ashraf and award-winning singer Rekha Bharadwaj. The event saw some really acclaimed personalities like Sushmita Sen and Dia Mirza in attendance too.
This is not the first time that such a night march is being organised by CrossBow Miles. Earlier too, public night walks were organised in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Gwalior and New Delhi which were attended by 200-15,000 people in each city.
The Logical Indian congratulates Volvo on the grand success of their initiative #MakeYourCitySafe. We also hope that women leave their apprehension behind and unitedly reclaim their city spaces.