Monday, December 14, 2009

Marathi manoos who went to Telangana

Today, when the fire rages in Telangana and a debate on a Marathi Manoos rages on in Maharashtra, perhaps we need to remember and pay a tribute to people like Vinoba Bhave, who had seen the anguish of the Telanganites much earlier and yes incidentally happened to be a Maharashtrian.

In 1973, When Acharya Vinoba Bhave decided to see how he could help the landless people in India, he went to one of the most poverty striken areas, Telengana.

Setting himself up in the courtyard of a prayer compound, he was soon receiving visitors from the entire village. The landless people told Vinoba they had no choice but to support the people fighting for land, because they had no land. They asked him if he could ask the government give them land so they could grow the crops.
Vinoba replied, “What use is government help until we can help ourselves?”
Late that afternoon, by a lake next to the village, Vinoba held another prayer meeting that drew thousands of villagers from the surrounding area. Without really expecting a response, he said, “Brothers, is there anyone among you who can help your landless friends?”

The people were all silent, but they did realize Vinoba had no selfish interest, only their own interest at heart. “Why else would he coming walking all the way?” they thought.

Slowly, a prominent farmer of the village stood up. “Sir, I am ready to give one hundred acres.”
Vinoba could not believe his ears.

A farmer willing to part with 100 acres out of simple generosity. And Vinoba was just as astounded when the landless people declared that they needed only 80 acres and wouldn’t accept more!

Vinoba suddenly saw a solution. .

So began the movement called Bhoodan—“land-gift.” Over the next seven weeks, Vinoba asked for donations of land for the landless in 200 villages. “We do not aim at doing mere acts of kindness, but at creating a Kingdom of Kindness,” Vinoba Bhave used to say.

Yes, Bhoodan did not succeed as much as Vinoba wished, but surely, a remarkable way of solving problems through simple kindness had been shown..


  1. Kingdom of Kindness! Sounds extremely appealing. imagine huge tracts of land, just for the poor, tilled and worked upon day in and day out, the reapings of which satiating the hunger of countless number of people, who live in harmony ever after! This is probably the fairy tale line that Vinoba ji would have wanted turn true. Unfortunately, in this era of one upmanship, where every man wants to do better than the other by hook or by crook, such acts of generosity are few and far between. But a very bold and unique attempt by him to solve some problems. Yet another reason for all of us to double up and work harder, and try to make dreams of such visionaries come true. Thanks for writing this, Jamuna.

  2. I am so glad you liked it, Varun. You too are quite unique in creating a group of people striving to educate and inspire young India. Each of us contributing in our way would create a new India if only we move in the right direction..and connect to each other..

  3. Give and Recieve (not Take)is the Law of Nature.When we Give and are content with only what we Recieve(passive, humble),then there is Abundance in Nature !But,when we decide to Take(active,demanding)we engender competition, greed and Scarcity!So,Indian people, society and corporates guzzle resources by depriving the Bhaaratwaasis of their basic needs and don't even return the wastes -garbage and sewage -to nourish these very lands that feed us ! And then they ensure, with the complicity of the authorities and the media,that they are 'seen to be giving -doing charity'by doling out mere tokenisms in the form of books etc for the children of the very rural people whom they impoverished in the first place !Being charitable(responding to the need of every moment-situation specific) and not charity( only on certain convenient occasions)is the need of all times.

  4. True. It is only by getting involved with the other can we really make a difference.

  5. I am very glad to read your post on Vinoba Bhave and his visit to Telangana in connection with his "Bhoodaan".I would like to translate in Marathi and send to some marathi prominant periodical such as Sadhana giving your refernece. Please permit me to do that.
    Mangesh Nabar

  6. Altruistic acts are always a great way to live. If only more people thought of giving. Interesting article.

  7. Thanks, Karen - Truly, such acts inspire us to do move always..

  8. Thank you so much, Mangesh ji. Have been reading more on Vinoba and getting so inspired by his vision ...