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The Bhoodan Movement or Land Gift Movement was a voluntary land reform movement in India. It was initiated by Acharya Vinoba Bhave in 1951 at Pochampally village, which is now in Telangana, and known as Bhoodan Pochampally. It is also called as the land gift movement.
The Bhoodan Movement attempted to persuade wealthy landowners to voluntarily give a percentage of their land to landless people. Philosophically, Bhave was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi's Sarvodaya movement. This was one more example of women power and unity. Women volunteers carried the message of Bhoodan to all parts of India. Women played a significant role in the Telangana Peasants Armed Struggle (TPAS) which challlenged the Nizams and the feudal system. As their region became free from bonded labour, women also found freedom from this torment.
Landless labourers were given small plots on which they were welcome to settle and grow their crops. Bhoodan Acts were passed that stated that the beneficiary had no right to sell the land or use it for non-agricultural purposes or for forestry. For example, Section 25 of the Maharashtra State Bhoodan Act states that the beneficiary (who must be landless) should only use the land for subsistence cultivation. If the "owner" failed to cultivate the land for over a year or tried to use it for non-agriculture activities, the government would have the right to confiscate it.
Bhave wanted peasants to give up using bullocks, tractors or other machines for agricultural purposes. This was called rishi-kheti. He also wanted the people to give up using money in the form of kanchan-dan. He was followed by crowds nearly everywhere he went.
The movement had the support of Congress. JP Narayan withdrew from active politics to join the Bhoodan movement in 1953.
Bhave crossed India on foot to persuade landowners to give up a piece of their land. His first success came on 18 April 1951 at Pochampally village in Nalgonda district, which was the centre of communist activity. It was the culmination of the Telangana peasant movement. A violent struggle had been launched by peasants against the local landlords.
Movement organisers had arranged for Bhave to stay at Pochampally, a village of about 700 families, of whom two-thirds were landless. Bhave visited the Harijan (the Untouchables) colony. By early afternoon villagers began to gather around him. The Harijans asked for eighty acres of land, forty wet, forty dry, for forty families. Bhave asked, "If it is not possible to get land from the government, is there not something villagers themselves could do?"
Shri Vedre Ramachandra Reddy Bhoodan got the title "Bhoodan" because he was the first donor on 18 April 1951 in Andhra Pradesh (now Telangana) at a village called Pochampally in the Nalgonda district. Reddy was born on 17 July 1905 into a prominent family during the Nizam period in Deccan. He joined social reform. After him, the land donation movement continued under a Bhoodan trust movement with the help of his sons. His initial donation was of 100 acres of his 3,500 acres. He had resigned from a Govt. job to enter politics. He later donated an additional 800 acres.
Other land owners including Raja Bahadur Giriwar Narayan Singh, C.B.E. and Raja of Ranka (Garhwa Jharkhand) donated a combined 1,02,001 acres to the Bhoodan initiative, the largest donation in India.
The initial objective of the movement was to secure voluntary donations and distribute it to the landless, but soon came to demand 1/6 of all private land. In 1952, the movement widened the concept of gramdan ("village in gift" or the donation of an entire villate) and had started advocating common ownership of land. The first village to come under gramdan was Mangroth in Hamirpur district of Uttar Pradesh. The second and third gramdans took place in Orissa in 1955.
This movement developed into a village gift or gramdan movement. This movement was a part of a comprehensive movement for the establishment of a Sarvodaya Society (The rise of all socio-economic-political order), both in and outside India.
By the 1960s the movement had lost momentum. The Sarvodaya Samaj failed to build a mass movement that would generate pressure for social transformation. However, the movement made a significant contribution by creating moral ambivalence, putting pressure on landlords, creating conditions favorable to the landless.
- "A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NIZAMS OF HYDERABAD". outlookindia.com. August 5, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- "Much of Bhoodan land found to be under encroachment in city". timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Sep 4, 2016. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- Documents of the ... Conference of All India Kisan Sabha. All India Kisan Sabha. 1954. p. 14.
Giriwar Prasad Narain Singh, Raja of Ranka (Palamau district) donated (!) 1,02,001 acres
- India since independence - Bipin Chandra
- Bhoodan and the Landless, S. V. Khandewale and K. R. Nanekar, Popular Prakashan, 1973
- Bhoodan Movement in India: An Economic Assessment, Raghavendra Nath Misra, New Delhi: S. Chand and Company Pvt Ltd, 1972.
- Bhoodan-Gramdan Movement - 50 Years: A Review
- A brief biography of Vinoba Bhave,
- Moved by Love, Vinoba Bhave, Paramdhan Prakashan, 1994.
- ‘Bhoodan’ board to take on encroachers
- Nizams donation for Bhoodan movement