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Governing of Commons: The Bhoodan Way

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Shukla, Nimisha; Iyengar, Sudarshan
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7285
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Region: Africa
Subject(s): property rights
traditional institutions
common pool resources
institutional economics
Abstract: "Vinoba Bhave, an ideologue of Gandhian thought and devout practitioner developed the Gandhian doctrine of trusteeship and gave it a concrete form. He appealed big land owners and asked land as gift to be distributed to landless poor. He called it Bhoodaan that gradually culminated into Gramdan, where the land of the entire village was donated to the community and treated as community property. Bhoodaan activity began in 1951 and soon became a movement in whole of India. About 4 million acres or 1.6 million hectare of land was received as daan – gift till 1970, when the activity ended. The land distributed to landless had inheritance rights but did not give right to alienate. Bhoodaan is a case of collective ownership and private use. The paper will analyse the Bhoodan and Gramdan movement in India in the framework of common property management and use of natural resources. The process of receiving land as a gift, its distribution to landless and plans for production and management would be analysed. Unlike the traditional community based naturally evolved systems of commons management for private and public economic benefits, Bhoodan is a system that is introduced to a community with basic principle and value of non-violence. It is expected that the communities will experiment and naturalise it. The Land management policies of the State have failed in supporting the commons and the livelihoods options of the people. Instead, in collaboration with business, it is privatising it for building an industrial society. The paper would examine the theory of Bhoodan as a case study and comment whether it would simultaneously solve the problem of equity in land use in agriculture and also achieve ecological sustainability in common property framework."

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