Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

Vinoba's Movement: An Overview

By Kanti Shah

…‘Sarvodaya’, the word, was coined 100 years ago. In ancient literature, this word might have been used in some context, but its use as a definitive philosophy is only 100 years old.

This word took shape in Gandhi’s mind in 1904 when he read Ruskin’s book ‘Unto This Last’, but the word took concrete shape in 1908 when Gandhi translated the gist of this book in Gujarati. The translation is an example of Gandhi’s literary acumen. The title of Ruskin’s book was taken from a Biblical story ‘Unto This Last’, which means that even the last person should get an equal share. In those days, the concept of ‘Greatest good of greatest number’ was in vogue. But Gandhi said that Sarvodaya meant the rise of all, and it was not merely the greatest good of the greatest number or of the last person standing in the queue. From then on, the ideology of Sarvodaya got firmly established in social discourses. The detailed explanation of the meaning of Sarvodaya can be found in ‘Hind Swaraj’ that was written by Gandhi in 1909. The overview that we are attempting here would be against this background. READ MORE…

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