|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 the world.
Vinobha Bhave’s 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 Gandhiji’s 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 Bhave’s 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.