This book is and attempt to bring together speeches, and passages from speeches, which deal with the same general theme, regardless of the date and place of their utterance. The first, section, Government and People, is devoted to the general political principles involved; the second section illustrates Vinoba’s thought on the conditions and opportunities for democracy obtaining after Independence, while the third section analyses some of the disquieting features of our present democratic practice. The fourth, and central section, Saevodya and Panchayat Raj, presents Vinoba’s positive programme of democratic organization on sarvodya principles, the fifth deals with the relationship of this lok-niti to the achievement of non-violence and world peace. The last two sections deal respectively with the ethical foundations of such a democracy, and with the part to be palyed in its creation by what Vinoba calls his “third force”.
This book is a notable contribution to the debate: it raises fundamental questions and propound bold situations. And because these questions and solutions are relevant not only in India but throughout the world, an English edition may, it is hoped, open channels of communication with thinkers in other countries who, like Vinoba, seek to build “a commonwealth of the common man”.
About the Author:
Vinoba Bhave was one of the great spiritual leaders and social reformers of modern India, whose work and personal example moved the heart of all Indians, from Prime Ministers to the poor. Born in 1895, at the age of ten he took a vow of lifelong celibacy and service to others. Searching for a way of life that would embody both spiritual truth and practical action, he discovered Gandhi and joined in his work for the regeneration of India.
Vinoba participated in Gandhi’s non-violent resistance (satyagraha) to the British Raj. Later, after independence had been achieved, Vinoba started out on his extraordinary bhoodan (Land Gift) movement. Over a period of twenty years, Vinoba walked the length and breath of India, persuading landlords to give to their poor neighbors a total of over four million aces of land.
Vinoba’s social activism was founded on a lifetime’s study of the spiritual traditions of India, and also of the other major world religions. These memories reveal both the inner and outer life of a great man who has an unwavering commitment to the practice of non-violence, to an engaged spirituality, and to the power of love.