Vinoba Bhave received serious brickbats in 1975 for supporting the state of emergency imposed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Bhave advocated that the emergency was required, calling it Anushasana Parva (Time for Discipline) to teach people about Discipline. According to many scholars and political thinkers, Vinoba Bhave was an imitator of Mahatma Gandhi. Even some of his admirers find fault with the extent of his devotion to Gandhiji.

His ideas about education

Bhave, who is generally popular as a leader who brought about 'bhoodan' or land-donation and sarvodaya or upliftment of all movements in the country, had a unique approach to education too. What is important is that Bhave was not a mere theorist; he actually experimented with his vision about ideal education in practical life and kept improving his methods with the experiences gained.

A learned disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, Bhave experimented with his mentor's concept of Nai Talim, popular as Gandhi's basic education at his own Ashram at Wardha and added new dimensions to it. One of the aspect of it was his concept of 'Education in One Hour a Day'. In an essay named after the concept, he talks at length his experiments with this novel idea: "I have recently been speaking a good deal about the idea of a 'one-hour school'." It would not be a government school but a village school and it would work every morning for one hour only. Everything that is taught, whether in the school or in the university, would be linked up with the crafts and activities of the village."

Of course, since Bhave's emphasis was more on addressing the problem of basic education in the villages, his ideas may seem a bit strange to a city-dweller at the first instance, but the spirit of his concept can very well be utilised in a modern setting too. Rather, it would not be much misplaced to suggest that the concept of distance learning, part-time classes for learning new skills, new languages, for upgrading one's knowledge in computers, designing as prevalent in the urban areas are nothing but the modernised offshoot of what thinkers like Bhave had to offer.

He had a vision of a complete man who is alive to his inner aspirations as well as social needs, one who can combine his own enterprise with the growth of the society, one who can coalesce the knowledge of the self or Atma Jnan with the knowledge of the physical laws or Vijnana. It's in this context that Bhave considered the craft-based education as an effective starting point towards the making of a self-reliant and socially alive man.

Sankalp Unit