#ThrowbackThursday: The Bhoodan Land Movement
Have you ever heard of the wealthy voluntarily giving up part of their land to the landless people? This was the main goal of the Bhoodan Land Movement. The initiative began in 1951 in the Pochampally village, now known as Boodham Pochampally. It was founded by Acharya Vinoba Bhave. The job of the initiative was for the wealthy to give away part of their land to those who didn’t have any land. The land was not to be resold, but rather to be used as a place to settle and possibly use to the land to plant and grow crops. The donation of land was meant to be an incentive to remain in the village as a captive labor pool for the richer farmers and landlords.
The Man Behind the Movement
Bhave was a freedom fighter as well as a spiritual teacher. He was a huge Gandhi devotee and follower, and adopted Gandhi’s views of non-violence. He once said:
All revolutions are spiritual at the source. All my activities have the sole purpose of achieving a union of hearts.
He was a social reformer who lived to make sure that those who were less privileged had a good quality of life. To achieve this goal, he founded the Bhoodan Movement.
How It Started
The village of Pochampally was a fairly large village, that consisted of about 700 families, 2/3 of whom didn’t own any land. Bhave visited the Harijans, who were the untouchables. He convinced the wealthy to willingly donate parts of their land to those who were landless. The first such donation came from Ram Chandra Reddy, who offered to donate 100 acres to the untouchables. Thus began the great movement! Initially, any amount of land donated was accepted, but as the movement progressed, a set standard of 1/6 amount of the land was to be donated. The movement came to be known as the Land Gift Movement of India.
One issue with this movement was that it wasn’t evenly spread across the country. The Indian state of Bihar donated over 50% of the land donated countrywide. Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajastan combined donated 85% of all the land gifted.
Bhave was a man who understood the pain of the underprivileged, but unlike many in today’s society, he actually did something about it. Majority of the world may be ignorant to this movement, but the opportunities it provided to the landless has been immense and inspiring. We need more people like him to fix the societal ills. We can’t sit back and wait for the government to take action; individuals who are privileged should do more to contribute and help the poor.
Image Attribute: (Wardha.Nic.In)