My dear Pranav,
There is one more episode in Vinoba's life which I must tell you
about. Immediately after emergency was declared by Indira Gandhi on
25th June, 1975, Shri Vasant Sathe, then Minister for Information and
Broadcasting went to meet Vinoba at Pavnar. Vinoba was observing his
one year of silence from 25th December, 1974. Sathe went to Vinoba
to seek his opinion about the emergency.
Vinoba showed Sathe a page from the MahabharatA titled "Anushasan
Parva" (chapter on discipline).
Since he would not speak, Sathe as Minister of Information and
Broadcasting told the world through AIR, Doordarshan and the newspapers,
that Vinoba had indicated his approval emergency by calling it a
Chapter of Discipline. Everyone swallowed this interpretation by Sathe.
That was the reason why Vinoba was called "Sarkari Saint" (government
This one action of Vinoba was used by politicians in power to full
extent. Sarva Seva Sangh, which always transacted its business with
unanimous resolutions, split. Most people went along with Jayprakash
Narayan and very few remained with Vinoba.
For all members of Sarvodaya Samaj this was a testing time. The
1977 election victory was attributed to the slogan of Total
Revolution. They felt that JP was right, and that they were
vindicated. People elected the Janata Party to power. Indira Gandhi
was totally routed in the general election of 1977. Humiliation was
heaped on Vinoba. He remained steadfast in his views. He showed no
bitterness. His love for JP, and JP's love for him remained unchanged.
Within 28 months, the Janata Party could not
survive in power. In the 1980 election, Indira Gandhi came back to
power. Vinoba after his year of silence explained that what he
meant by Anushasan (discipline) was the anushasan decided by
Acharyakula. This he had described in detail earlier in his concept
of Acharyakula. The Acharyas who are non-partisan, not interested in
political power but in social welfare should decide the rules of
discipline and the government should only implement them. This he had
decribed in detail earlier in his concept of Acharya Kula in 1968.
A man who shunned politics all his
life, who advised against politics was dragged into party politics by
clever politicians. His name was misused, but he remained steadfast.
The words "Anushasan Parva" and "Sarkari Saint" became popular
epithets to describe Vinoba. Sadly it all turned meaningless. JP died
with remorse for the exploitation of the idea of Total Revolution.
Politicians we interested in power: total revolution and JP were tools
in their hands.
Politicians also used JP for partisan ends and dumped
his advice once they were in power. People's power turned sour. It
all happened in just three years. JP died as a disheartened man.
Like Gandhi, he was killed, though metaphorically, by his followers.
Vinoba, inspite of much vilification, remained aloof and effective till
the end. He did not get into politics, though many of his followers
ditched him during emergency. He remained Vinoba till the end.