Gandhi Vichar Parishad (GVP) is a non-profit,
non-political, non-religious voluntary organization which was
established in the year 1965.The mission of this organization
was to reconstruct the villages on the line of concept and
praxis of “ Gram Swaraj” as articulated by Mahatma Gandhi and
later taken up by Achayara Vinoba Bhave as part of non –violent
revolution of post-Gandhi era to solve the country’s land
problem. Indeed, Acharya Bhave had made a padaytra in this
district for mobilizing young men and women for this movement
Initially, it was started as a study circle for discussion and
dissemination of Gandhian ideas and values among the urbane
educated classes. Finally at the clarion call of LOknayak
Jayprakash Narayan this organization extended its activities in
rural areas by establishing basic infrastructure with concrete
work programmes which ultimately could mature into self-governed
and self-sustained village republics with legislative judiciary
and executive combined. The experiment started in 10 villages by
formation of own organization of the villagers called LOK Samity
with a set of operative principles and embarking on an action
programme commensurate with the vision and mission of the
Power to Where it belongs--The Lok Samity runs and governs all
the affairs of the village, operates cohesively and unanimously
in a communication pattern that nurses in its core the essence
of a republican village with its Judiciary, Legislative and
Executive taken together.
It formulates development plans and programmes, establishes
priorities, determines budget, secures and disburses development
funds, keeps accounts, maintains community assets ,settles
village disputes, forms rules and regulations.
Every member is required to act in a non-partisan manner when he
is in the Gram Sabha for village development programme.
With these guiding principles the village councils function with
full freedom and GVP provides a moral presence drawing attention
of village councils in case of any deviation from the accepted
Modus Operandi: The Lok Samities are motivated to
jointly deploy its manpower in developing natural resources of
the villages for creating a stable resource base for them to
struggle to obtain a life of justice and dignity.
1)The primary focus is on land improvement activities including
reclamation of fallow land, creation of an assured irrigation
system and improved agricultural practice for yielding more
varieties of crops to eradicate food insecurity of the
2)Creation of forest on a large scale for reducing soil erosion
and soil nutrient loss.
3)Setting up of micro scale enterprises for production of mainly
consumer goods and propagating the use of local products among
4)Generation of surplus revenue for community asset creation
like community forestry. Community tank, community land for
grain banking, small savings at SHG levels.
The programme was initiated for implementation during early
70s.In the year 1998 two professionally managed consultancy
experts in rural development were requested to undertake a study
of the activities and its impact on people and society at large
.The following are some of the relevant excerpts of their
Impact at community level: Gandhian principles as
practiced by GVP for socio-economic and political transformation
has been adopted and accepted and practiced by the Loksamities
and Mahila mandals.
2) System established to generate surplus revenue at community
level through community assets creation, savings and grain
3)70%Loksmities are able to handle development fund and planning
and implementation of projects besides effectively manage the
village administration, maintain records and books of accounts
4) Money lenders’ domination is no more. Community level village
credit system is in progress.
5)System established to run, maintain, repair and replace the
assets created for its sustainability.
6)Improved co-operation and inter-dependency.
7) Reduced village disputes.
8) Increased awareness.
Impact On Agricultural/Natural resources management:
Reduced migration by above 80%.
Increased production of major food grain by 84%
Reduced food insecurity at farm household level.
Improved agricultural practice.
Increased employment for marginal and landless labourers.
Increased fodder, and fuel production.
Impact on Environment:
soil and soil nutrient loss through massive plantation ie
22814000 plants, and land improvement activities.
acre degraded land has been treated with soil and moisture
surface water harvest and management/controlled run off.
Reduced use of chemicals in the crop practice.
Introduced leguminous crop practice and bio-diversity.
Ideas have legs:
The application and experience people participation proved to be
well suited for creating peoples movement for a societal change.
But this experiment was limited to a few villages with little
Which is why, GVP tried to network local voluntary organizations
into a forum. .Local voluntary organizations were exposed to the
ingenuity of ideology of peoples development and slowly there
was an inculcation of the GVP process by local voluntary
Now22 voluntary organizations are strongly advocating for the
village self-governance in the process of power structure.
The following are the organization and clusters working with the
process in 20 Blocks of 09 districts in 2 states namely West
Bengal and Jharkhand.
Sadly, the ingenuity of the concept in the working procedure
with tested success can not be replicated across the country by
Gandhi Vichar Parishad alone.
Accordingly, GVP plans to enter upon the next phase of its
action plan – a movement for self-governance and self-reliance
of village communities and calls for active participation of
people to realize it as people alone can bring about tangible
and meaningful changes in the quality and texture of their lives
and sustain it for good.