Last Thursday, the Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, spoke at a Webinar about Acharya Vinoba Bhave’s contribution to the dissemination of Gandhiji’s philosophy for social uplift and Bhoodan Movement. 

The Vice President insisted on the nurturing of entrepreneurial talent among the youth of the nation to make India’ Atma-Nirbhar’ in the time to come. He said that we must understand the entrepreneurial talent and technical skill of every citizen of the nation and utilize the resources available to attain self-reliance and to serve humanity at large.

Counting on the creation of a Sashakt Bharat, a Swabhimani Bharat, and an Atmanirbhar Bharat that Vinoba ji and Gandhi ji had visualized, the Vice President said that India’s concept of self-reliance is not about being ultra-nationalist and protectionist but to become a more significant partner in global welfare. He spoke of the timelessness of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas, and said, “Gandhiji remains our beacon even today because he was an innovator who constantly experimented.”

Shri Naidu said that our freedom struggle was not only a political movement but also an awakening call for a national resurgence and socio-cultural. He was of the opinion that empowerment of masses was a key component of our freedom movement.

Observing that Mahatma Gandhi showed civility even in disobedience, the Vice President said that Gandhiji had internalized the ancient Indian ethos of ‘share and care’.

Terming Acharya Vinoba Bhave as an ideal disciple of Gandhiji, Shri Naidu said that he believed that the essence of Indianness is a caring attitude and a spirit of sacrifice and service.

Underscoring that Vinoba’s Sarvodaya movement and Gramdan concept exemplified the Gandhian ideal of village reconstruction and rural upliftment, the Vice President said that trust in the goodness of human beings and the belief that the rich will share their prosperity with the disadvantaged population were Central to these initiatives. “It was a cooperative system for the socio-economic upliftment of the villages”, he added.

Shri Naidu said that Vinoba Ji belonged to that long, inspirational lineage of Indian nationalists who gave direction to the social and economic progress of our people. He opined that a fitting tribute to Vinoba Ji on his 125th Birth Anniversary would be to work in an integrated manner for the rural population constituting about 60 per cent of our population. Shri Naidu also stressed upon the need to educate youngsters about the life and works of great leaders.

The Vice President called for fair and impartial opportunities for growth to all, irrespective of caste, creed, religion and region and said that we must essentially value individuals as individuals rather than as members of some social or economic group. He added that Sarvodaya and Antyodaya were necessary for social unity and economic equity.

Referring to the COVID-19 health emergency, the Vice President said that in these testing times, we have to come together, pool our efforts, not only to contain the spread of the virus but also to offer succour and solace, in a Gandhian way, to those who have been adversely affected by the lockdown. “The human spirit finds its noblest expression in times of adversity like this”, he added.

Shri Naidu said that in times like this, it is crucial to celebrate the work done by many non-governmental organizations and to recognize the selfless service being rendered by our doctors, paramedics, our security personnel and others who are keeping us safe. He said that we must also remember the farmers toiling on the fields and ensuring that we have enough food to eat.  

Dr Sankar Kumar Sanyal, President, Harijan Sevak Sangh, Dr Rajnish Kumar, Secretary, Harijan Sevak Sangh and others were present on the occasion.

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