Place of Birth: Gagode village, Kolaba District, Maharashtra
Parents: Narahari Shambhu Rao (Father) and Rukmini Devi (Mother)
Association: Freedom Activist, Thinker, Social Reformer
Movement: Indian Freedom Movement; Bhoodan Movement; Sarvodaya Movement
Political Ideology: Right wing, Gandhian
Religious Views: Egalitarianism; Hinduism
Publications: Geeta Pravachane (religious); Teesri Shakti (political); Swarajya Shastra (political); Bhoodan Ganga (social); Moved by Love (autobiographical).
Death: 15 November, 1982
Acharya Vinoba Bhave (11 September, 1895 – 15 November, 1982) was a freedom fighter and a spiritual teacher. He is best known as the founder of the ‘Bhoodan Movement’ (Gift of the Land). The reformer had an intense concern for the deprived masses. Vinoba Bhave had once said, “All revolutions are spiritual at the source. All my activities have the sole purpose of achieving a union of hearts.” In 1958, Vinoba was the first recipient of the international Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. He was also conferred with the Bharat Ratna (India’s highest civilian awards) posthumously in 1983.
Vinoba Bhave was born at Gagode in Kolaba district, Maharashtra on 11 September, 1895. His original name was Vinayak Narahari Bhave. His mother Rukmini Devi was a very religious person. At a very young age Vinoba was deeply interested in Mathematics. In 1916, on his way to Mumbai to appear for the intermediate examination, Vinoba Bhave put his school and college certificates into a fire. It was believed that Vinoba took the decision after reading a piece of writing in a newspaper written by Mahatma Gandhi.
Association with Gandhi
After a series of exchange of letters between Gandhi and Bhave, on 7 June, 1916 Vinoba went to meet Gandhi. Five years later, on 8 April, 1921, Vinoba went to Wardha to take charge of a Gandhi-ashram there. During his stay at Wardha, Bhave also brought out a monthly in Marathi, named, ‘Maharashtra Dharma’. The monthly comprised of his essays on the Upanishads. Over the years, the bond between Vinoba and Gandhi grew stronger and his involvement in constructive programmes for the society kept on increasing.
In 1932, accusing Vinoba Bhave of conspiring against the colonial rule, the British government sent him to jail for six months to Dhulia. There, he told the fellow prisoners about the different subjects of ‘Bhagwad Gita‘, in Marathi. All the lectures given by him on Gita in Dhulia jail were collected and later published as a book.
Till 1940, Vinoba Bhave was known only to the people around him. Mahatma Gandhi, on 5 October, 1940, introduced Bhave to the nation by issuing a statement. He was also chosen as the first Individual Satyagrahi (an Individual standing up for Truth instead of a collective action) by Gandhi himself.