About Vanavasi

At the time of independence there were critical situations in many provinces of India. In the central province - present Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister  Sri Ravi Shankar Shukla experienced the anti-national activities during his tour to tribal areas.  Disturbed by these, the then government instituted  Niyogi Commission to look in to the various issues connected with the tribals.

 

The Redemption Plan

 

Under the aegis of late Sri Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Chief Minister Sri Ravi Shankar Shukla, and Sri Thakkar Bapa, the renowned Gandhian and pioneer of Tribal Welfare, devised an action plan for the welfare of tribals. Sri Thakkar Bapa's choice fell on one young freedom fighter and advocate of Nagpur – Sri Ramakant Keshav Deshpande.

 

Sri Ramakant Keshav Deshpande is popularly known as Balasaheb Deshpande, and was appointed by the provincial government with special powers to look after tribal welfare work in Jasgpur Nagar.

 

Within a year, he was able to open 110 schools in that area. His innovative welfare measures coupled with administrative decisions turned the atmosphere of hostility into that of tranquility.

 

The birth of Vanavsi Kalyan -Â  the work that became a Mission

 

After the death of Sri Thakkar Bapa in 1950, Sri Deshpande resigned from the government service, returned to Nagpur to resume his legal practice.  Inspired by Sri Golwalkar, he moved to Jashpur  and dedicated his life for Vanavasis.

 

In December 1952, he started a hostel with few tribal boys in a dilapidated building of the Raja Vijayabhushana Singh.  He donated a major portion of the amount he received from the government as “ Rajdhan” to Vanavasi Kalyan. And the Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram came into being.

 

The tiny sapling grew into a mighty Banyan tree - Akhil Bharatiya Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram - now the biggest voluntary organization in the service of 8 crores of Vanavasis (tribals) in the country.