The Banvasi Seva Ashram – In Gandhi’s Footsteps By Elizabeth Hoddy
The Banvasi Seva Ashram – In Gandhi’s Footsteps, written by Elizabeth Hoddy 1999, gives an overview of the work carried out by Banwasi Seva Ashram in various spheres. Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of an ideal village was: “A complete republic independent of its neighbours for its vital wants and yet interdependent for any wants in which dependence is a necessity.” She writes…
“…Mahatma Gandhi would be proud of the Banwasi Seva Ashram. His vision of enlightened confident and self-sufficient villagers running their own lives has become a reality. Wastelands have become fertile oases; water flows freely in once arid, drought prone wastes. The Banwasi Seva Ashram is an outstanding example of a Gandhian voluntary organization (NGO). There are some 700 such social action groups throughout the length and breadth of India. Their aim is to establish a social order based on harmony, non-exploitation and decentralization and to put into practice Gandhi’s conviction that village self-sufficiency is vital for the country’s development. The Ashram has been more successful than most in realizing Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of empowering India’s rural poor. The ashram’s complex itself has become a small self-sufficient village with shops, schools, hostels, a clinic, post office, bank, demonstration farm, library, workshops and vocational training centre. More than half the staff are local people, some of whom are working in the field at fifteen sub-centres which are responsible for a cluster of 20 to 30 villages. The villagers cooperate and share life with each other, convinced that the welfare of every individual is the concern of all. They have developed self-confidence, courage, an awareness of their rights, a thirst for knowledge and an indomitable spirit. But it has been a uphill struggle for all concerned – a struggle that continues to this day…”
Banwasi Seva Ashram Ke Chalis Varsh
Banwasi Seva Ashram Ke Chalis Varsh, is a book written by Shri. Vasudev Chitle, a Gandhian social worker, on completion of forty years of Banwasi Seva Ashram. This book provides and overview of the work carried out by the Ashram in period 1954 – 1994 in various spheres of rural development. The initial chapters give a brief historical background and account of relief work carried out by the Ashram in the initial years. In sixties, the Ashram was instrumental in distribution of land to the landless labourers as a part of the Bhoodaan Movement. In seventies and eighties, the Ashram played a vital role in the protracted battle for rehabilitation of villagers affected by construction of Rihand dam. The book provides a detailed account of these activities. Various development programmes setup by the Ashram, such as land and water table development, irrigation, and rural health have been reviewed. Some of the major initiatives of Ashram are spreading education among children, women and adults and be a nucleus for promoting Khadi and village industry. The book provides an overview of these initiatives. Ashram’s role in the women empowerment is highlighted. More importantly, the book aptly reviews the Ashram activities on the backdrop of Gandhijee’s philosophy of Gram Swaraj and rural empowerment.
Swarn Jayanti Smarika
Swarna Jayanti Smarika is a book published by Ashram in 2006 on completion of 50 years. This book, compiled by Mr. Ajay Shekhar, has contributions from many individuals who have been associated with Ashram in different capacity. It carries impressions of illustrious visitors and well-wishers from the various spheres of life who have visited the Ashram over the years. Ashram workers have recorded their experiences and thoughts. Article range from reflections on Gandhian thought and Gram-Swaraj ideas to personal memories and anecdotes. Thus, this book is a kaleidoscope of Ashram’s vision and work, Ashram life viewed through different glasses.
Dhai Akhar Prem Ke
Dhai Akhar Prem Ke, is a book of memoir. This book presents various facets of Shri. Prembhai’s life and thought, through the glasses of noted thinkers, co-workers, Govt. officials, journalists, relatives and many others. The recollections and reminiscences recorded clealy bring out the multi-dimensional personality Shri. Prem Bhai as a Gandhian thinker, planner, economist, village development technician and a constructive worker fighting for the rights of socially neglected and backward classes. Some of the writings of Shri. Prembhai are collected at the end of the book.