Sunday, 4 February 2018

Why Vinoba - Gandhiji

In 1940, soon after the war started Gandhiji planned a satyagraha movement against British rule in India. He did not want to burden the British with a fight since he sympathised with their struggle against the dark fascist forces of Europe. So this was to be a symbolic fight, carried on by individuals, not a mass movement. The first individual selected by Gandhi for the movement was Vinoba.
Why Vinoba? Gandhi explained, on 5 Oct 40. "Who is Vinoba Bhave and why has he been selected for offering individual civil disobedience in 1940? He is an undergraduate, having left college in 1916 after my return to India. He is a Sanskrit scholar. He joined the ashram almost at its inception. He was among the first members... In order to better qualify himself, he took one year's leave to prosecute further studies in Sanskrit. And practically in the same hour at which he had left the Ashram a year before, he walked into it without notice. I had forgotten that he was due to arrive on that day. He has taken part in every menial activity of the Ashram from scavenging to cooking. 

Though he has a marvellous memory and is a student by nature, he has devoted the larger part of his time to spinning— in which he has specialised as very few have. He believes in universal spinning being the central activity which will remove the poverty in the villages and put life into their deadness. Being a born teacher, he has been of the utmost assistance to Ashadevi Aryanayakam of Hindustani Talimi Sangh in his development of the scheme of education though handicrafts. Sri Vinoba has produced a text book, taking spinning as the handicraft. It is original in conception. He has made scoffers realize that spinning is the handicraft par excellence which lends itself to being effectively used for basic education. He has revolutionalised takli spinning and drawn out its hitherto unknown possibilities. For perfect spinning he has no rival in all India.

"He has abolished every trace of untouchability from his heart. He believed in communal unity with the same passion that I have. In order to know the best mind of Islam, he gave one year to the study of the Koran in the original. He therefore learnt Arabic. He found his study necessary for cultivating a living contact in his neigbourhood.

"Vinoba was for years the director of the Mahila Ashram in Wardha. Then his devotion to the cause of Daridranarayana (God revealed in the poor) took him first to a village near Wardha, and now he has gone further and now he lives in Paunar, five miles from Wardha, from where he has established contact with
villages through the disciples he has trained.

"Vinoba believes in the necessity of the politicial independence of India. He is an active student of history. But he believes that real independence of the villages is impossible without the costructive programme of which khadi is the centre. He believes that the spinning wheel, which has became an integral part of the previous satyagraha campaigns, is the most effective suitable outward symbol of non-violence. He has never been in the limelight on the political platform. With many co-workers he believes that silent constructive ... "

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