My dear Pranav,
In 1951, a conference of Gandhian workers, who were not involved in any
politics and who belonged to the larger part of Total Revolution,
called the Sarvodaya Workers was held at Shivrampalli in Andhra
Pradesh. Vinoba attended that conference. He started from Sevagram in
Maharashtra on March 7, 1951 on foot. In 30 days he walked 300 miles
and reached Shivarampalli.
The Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh was then in turmoil. The
communists tried to have an armed resurrection like the Yenan in
China. They were creating panic in the minds of people by dacoity
and murders. The Government adopted methods of tit for tat - violence
was met with violence, bullet for bullet. People were terrorized by
communists at night and police during day. There was a cry for help.
On April 15, 1951, on the Ramnavami day, in his evening meeting at Hyderabad,
Vinoba said: All of us, you and I and every being, are indeed the
forms of Rama. If we abandon our egoism (I-ness) and reduce ourselves
to zero, we shall become one with Rama and could then function as
instruments of the Lord."
On the early morning of April 18, 1951 Vinoba reached Pochampalli on foot.
The village had a population of about three thousand. The Nalagonda
District of Telangana was regarded as the Head Quarters of the
Communists. In the previous two years, 20 to 22 murders had taken
On reaching the village, Vinoba first went to the harijan (untouchables) colony.
He visited each house and saw the conditions personally. The Harijans said, "We are very poor.
We are jobless. If you give us
some land, we could toil on it and earn our bread." Vinoba asked,
"How much land would you need?" They said, " We are 40 families and
it would be enough if we get 80 acres."
Vinoba went into deep contemplation, as he could not see any way
out. He said, "I will talk to the Government authorities and try to
get this land allotted to you." But then it somehow occurred to him
to ask the many villagers in front of him; "Could some of you help
these Harijan brethren? They are ready to work hard on the land."
One of them, Ramachandra Reddy, stood up to say, "My father desired
that half of our 200 acres of land should be donated to a fitting
person. For me, this is the auspicious opportunity. Kindly accept
this gift of a hundred acres of my land."
This was the first spring of the
Bhoodan Ganga, and the date was April 18, 1951. In the next thirteen
years, 42,00,000 acres were gifted to Vinoba by villagers from all
parts of India. All the State Governments in India put together, who
confiscated by the law excess land beyond the ceiling limits, could
not match this figure even in the next thirty years.