President of the Gramdhan Nirman Samiti, G. V. Subba Rao has been involved in Gandhian activities since his childhood. He has been the recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contribution in the field of Constructive Work in 2013.
As a student leader, Mr Subba Rao was very active in encouraging students to take up social work, based on the ideologies of Gandhiji and Acharya Vinoba Bhave.
As part of the Bhoodan Movement of Vinoba Bhave, in 1954, Mr Subba Rao was asked by the Hyderabad State Bhoodan Yagna Samiti to work in the Nagarkurnool area of Mahabubnagar District, collecting Bhoodan (land donations) from landlords and distributing them to landless people in the same village.
Mr Subba Rao collected 20,000 acres in Mahabubnagar and 12,000 acres of land in Hyderabad. He met every donor and distributed land according to the donor’s selection and personally arranged the land transfer patta from the government to the receiver of the donation.
For such acts he was later widely hailed by the people as `Bhoodan Subbarao’.
The Bhoodan movement gradually involved the Gramdan Movement and the concept of Gram Swaraj was initiated. For this, 35 villages were declared as ‘Gramdan’ villages.
Mr Subba Rao also worked to form the Sarvodaya Gramdan Co-operatives Societies in three villages. Work on restoration of the lakes, building roads and digging common wells for agricultural use and activities related to sanitation and hygiene, were carried out.
In 1964, he set up the Kasturba Memorial Harijan Girls Hostel in Nagarkurnool, which led to the upliftment and education of dalit girls.
To ensure holistic development, Mr Subba Rao worked to end arrack and toddy drinking habits among the people of the region – especially those belonging to the labour class; and asked them to take an oath voluntarily renouncing it. This became a mass movement with the participation of nearly 10,000 people in an awareness rally in 1983.
After the Bhoodan work, Khadi production was the activity Mr Subba Rao undertook to facilitate the employment of villagers as spinners and weavers. They specialised in khadi towels and blankets, which have become popular even in other states.
A sign of the empowerment Mr Subba Rao’s khadi activity brought is that the products are associated with the government only for certification and not for subsidy.
To train and empower the unemployed youth, Gramdhan Nirman Samithi, under the guidance of Mr Subba Rao, initiated book binding and tailoring programmes during 1993-1996. Mr. Subba Rao also implemented the Sheep Development Programme in 1993 and Rural Sanitation Programme in 1996, supported by CAPART. The Programmes benefited seven villages of Nagarkurnool.
In 1991, ‘Sarvodaya Challenged Children Residential School’ was set up for physically handicapped and hearing-impaired children. Currently, there are 60 students – 31 boys and 29 girls – enrolled here.
This programme is supported by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The school has helped children be self-sufficient with self-confidence and self-respect. Most of them belong to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Quite a few students have brought laurels to the school.
For workers, Mr Subba Rao organised and formed the Market Hamali Trade Union in the Nagarkurnool town and campaigned for workers’ rights.
Thanks to such a wide spectrum of initiatives and programmes among almost all classes of people, and because of his personal touch and involvement, Mr Subba Rao has made a difference to tens of thousands of lives.
0He is a unique combination of a constructive worker and a Satyagrahi. He truly is a functioning and living disciple of Gandhiji.
He is the recipient of the Jamnalal Bajaj Award for Outstanding Contribution in the field of Constructive Work, in the year 2013.
Mr G. V. Subba Rao President-Gramdhan Nirman Samithi House No.18-92, Sarvodaya Bhavan, Sree Nagar Colony, Nagarkurnool District: Mahabubnagar, Andhra Pradesh Tel.No.:08540-226210 Mobile: +919440296710 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)
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