Provision of Land by gift for the common benefit of the landless was the cornerstone of the Bhoodan movement initiated by Acharya Vinova Bhave (born on September 2, 1896) in a village in Maharashtra. Acharya Vinova Bhave put his life mission in the following words:-
“ Till God keeps strength in me I shall tour the country and beg for land for the landless. Land, like air and water, cannot be individually owned. It can only be God’s. It is the common property of the people and should be equally distributed.”Starting rom the early fifties, Acharya Vinova Bhave, undertook the historic march throughout the length and breadth of the country to preach his teachings. On the 5th of March, 1961 he started his padayatra in Assam and it continued upto September ’62. In pursuance of te Bhoodan Yajna Movement initiated by Acharya Vinoba Bhave, the Government of Assam enacted two Acts viz. The Assam Gramdan Act, 1961 and The Assam Bhoodan Act, 1965.
The Assam Gramdan Act, 1961 was designed to regulate declaration of Gramdani Village and establishment of Gram Sabha, while the Assam Bhoodan Act, 1965 was enacted to facilitate the donation of land received as Bhoodan in response to the Bhoodan Yajna Movement and to provide for regularization, distribution and settlement of Bhoodan Land.
In the state of Assam, the concept of Village common land and community ownership of the land were, however, nothing new particularly in the hill areas and also in the tribal dominated pockets. Consequently, the laudable teachings of Acharya Vinova Bhave had great impacts in those districts and donation of land and formation of Gramdani Villages were noteworthy, especially during the late 1960s.
The Bhoodan records as available are as follows:-
|Sl. No.||Name of the District||Land measuring in B.K.L.||No. of Donors||No. of Beneficiaries|
The Lands thus collected were distributed to the landless people. The mission later on turned into a movement and it was popularly termed as Bhoodan Movement. Te Land was received in the district of Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Sonitpur, Darrang, Kamrup, Barpeta, Kokrajhar, Dhubri and Nagaon.
The number of Donors as per record in nine Districts is 209 and the number of beneficiaries is 855. The number of Gram sabhas in Assam is 312 existing in the districts for the period of 3 (Three) years term. District wise breakup of Gram Sabhas is as follows:- Kamrup-24, Nalbari-15, Baksa-12, Sonitpur-7, Lakhimpur-111, Dhemaji-121, Sibsagar-15 and Morigaon-5.