Born: September 11, 1895
Died: November 15, 1982
Achievements: Launched Bhoodan and Sarvodaya movements; awarded
with Bharat Ratna
Vinoba Bhave was reverently called as Acharya Vinoba Bhave. He was
considered as Mahatma Gandhi's spiritual successor. His Bhoodan (Gift of
the Land) movement started on April 18, 1951 attracted the attention of
Vinobha Bhaves original name was Vinayak Narahari Bhave. He was
born in a Brahmin family on September 11, 1895 at the village of Gagoda
in Kolaba district of Maharashtra. He was greatly influenced by his
mother Rukmini Devi. Vinoba Bhave was well-read in the writings of
Maharashtra's saints and philosophers. He was also deeply interested in
Mathematics. In 1916, while on his way to Mumbai to appear for the
intermediate examination, he took a detour and reached Varanasi. He was
motivated by his desire to attain the imperishable and all pervading
Brahma. In Varanasi he studied ancient Sanskrit texts.
Inspired by Gandhijis speech at the Benaras Hindu University Vinoba Bhave
wrote a letter to Gandhiji and after a few exchange of letters Gandhiji
advised Vinoba Bhave to come for a personal meeting at Kochrab Ashram in
Ahmedabad. Vinobha Bhave went and met Gandhiji on June 7, 1916 and this
meeting changed the course of Vinoba Bhaves life. He developed a
deep bond with Gandhiji and participated with keen interest in the
activities at Gandhi's ashram, like teaching, studying, spinning and
improving the life of the community.
In 1921, Vinoba Bhave was asked by Gandhiji to take charge of the
ashram at Wardha. In 1923, he brought out `Maharashtra Dharma', a
monthly in Marathi, which had his essays on the Upanishads. He increased
his involvement with Gandhiji's constructive programmes related to
Khadi, village industries, new education, sanitation and hygiene.
In December 23, 1932, he shifted to Nalwadi from where he experimented
his idea of supporting himself by spinning alone. Later, when he was
sick in 1938, he shifted to what he called Paramdham Ashram in Paunar,
which remained his headquarters. In 1940 he was chosen by Gandhi to be
the first Individual Satyagrahi. Vinoba Bhave also participated in the
Quit India Movement.
After independence he started social reform movements such as Bhoodan
Movement and Sarvodaya Movement. He also made some notorious dacoits of
Chambal surrender. In 1970, he announced his decision to stay at one
place. He observed a year of silence from December 25, 1974 to December
25, 1975. In 1976, he undertook a fast to stop the slaughter of cows.
His spiritual pursuits intensified as he withdrew from the activities.
He died on November 15, 1982 after refusing food and medicine few days
earlier. He was posthumously honored with the Bharat Ratna in 1984.