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ASSOCIATES OF MAHATMA GANDHI > VINOBA BHAVE > MY DEAR PRANAV > Think Globally, Act Locally

Think globally, act locally

16th September,1990

My dear Pranav,

While Vinoba was talking about Acharyakul and Jai Jagat, his vision was covering the entire world. During the Independence movement prior to 1947, the main slogan or idea kept before the people was Jai Hind (Victory for India). Prior to British rule in India, the nation state was a new idea even in Europe. There were small kingdoms, and geographically they did not cover very large areas. They considered their small kingdoms as their private property. The rulers were answerable to none. they always succumbed before foreign invaders. The village was self-contained unit. It made very little difference to the common man as to who their ruler was. Villagers were self-reliant and happy within the confines of a few similar villages.

Culturally, India was an entity for thousands of years. The Ramayan and the Mahabharat were the cultural base for all Indians. This picture changed during British rule. The political leaders from all over India started coming together, and therefore their aim was to have one United India hence the slogan Jai Hind.

As soon as India became Independent, the purpose of Jai Hind was achieved. At that point of time, many changes were taking place in the world. Air travel was spreading fast, telephones, telegraphs and satellites were reducing distances. The competition between Western countries and Communist countries was increasingly becoming more and more hostile. The arms race was on.

That was the time when Vinoba was preaching that all these scientific and technological advances were making the world small and the human brain big. But its mind, its heart still remained small. The atom bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6th August, 1945 changed the world completely. It was now possible for man to annihilate the entire human race. In such a situation, Jai Hind became comparatively small ambition.

The entire world became a small global village. It was therefore necessary to have the aim of Jai Jagat (Victory for the World). Today, all world leaders, ecologists, scientists and others are talking of One World. This was emphasised by Vinoba in the 1960s.

His teaching therefore was: "Think Globally; Act Locally". Indian darsaniks (perceptors) have always talked of one world or "Vasuhdaiva Kutumbakam" (All the world is one family). But it always remained a philosophical idea, a matter of words. It had no guidance for Action. Vinoba was very particular about this Action (Karma). Acting locally was very important for him. He therefore evolved his idea from Bhoodan to Gramdan. I will tell you about Gramdan as envisaged by Vinoba some other time.

With love,

Yours,

L. N. Godbole