King of Kindness
Vinoba Bhave and His Nonviolent Revolution
By Mark Shephard
"Jai jagat! - Victory to the world!." - Vinoba
Once India gained its independence, that nation's leaders did not take long to abandon Mahatma Gandhi's principles. Nonviolence gave way to the use of India's armed forces. Perhaps even worse, the new leaders discarded Gandhi's vision of a decentralized society - a society based on autonomous, self-reliant villages. These leaders spurred a rush toward a strong central government and an industrial economy as found in the West.
Yet Gandhi's vision was not abandoned by all. Many of Gandhi's "constructive workers" - development experts and community organizers working in a host of agencies set up by Gandhi himself - resolved to continue his mission of transforming Indian society.
Leading them was a disciple of Gandhi previously little known to the Indian public, yet eventually regarded as Gandhi's "spiritual successor": a saintly, reserved, austere individual called Vinoba.
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