Is it possible to change some one’s heart through Gandhism? Yes it is possible! It has been made possible by Rajiv Vora of Swaraj Peeth. Who was until two years back deeply into Maoism is now engrossed in studying and putting in practice Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj and nonviolence

Naxalites (Maoist insurgents) are abdicating violence. They are on Gandhi’s path. They are attending nonviolence study camps conducted by Swaraj Peeth and reading Gandhi’s most important work Hind Swaraj. Bhola Yadav told us he has read Hind Swaraj thoroughly. As a matter of fact, until two years back he was heavily influenced by the ideology of leftism. People identify him as a leader of the Maoist insurgents, but fascinated by Gandhi’s thought he is entirely engaged in learning and practicing his methods.


It is not Bhola alone, there are a number of young men in this area who like him have moved away from the path of violence and are on the path of nonviolence. They are coming forward to participate in Swaraj Peeth’s Nonviolence Camps. A new wave has risen. One can feel its impact. This breeze of thought transformation is blowing in the Maoism affected Banka District of Bihar.

Who so ever knows Bhola Prasad Yadav anywhere in the district of Banka would tell you that now he is a man with transformed consciousness. Deep influence of Hind Swaraj is visible on him. His single minded concern now is to propagate Swaraj awareness. In a meeting with Bhola Prasad he said “ Building Swaraj awareness in a society is not a contractual business, nor seeking for political power. It is social concern.

Therefore it is necessary to involve the youth at Panchayat level (local self-government clusters of villages). We are doing that. Bhola Yaday, 35, with firm built, middle height, is a soft spoken person. His Hindi is heavily mixed with his local dialect Angika. He did not object on addressing him as “comrade.”


Chairman of Swaraj Peeth , Gandhian, Rajiv Vora says :” I was alerted, rather cautioned by local people who were alarmed by Bhola’s unannounced, uninvited visit to one of our a nonviolence camp in their area, and also during his presence in a four day camp in Delhi. I was told he was a Naxalite Area Commander. But we never questioned him over that, neither did he talked about it. Vora says further “ But I can say it with confidence that he is honest. Never harbors animosity with any one, nor even ill-will. He is transparent and plain hearted. He is had working, diligent and tries to grasp things in their deeper and comprehensive meaning.” Well, on meeting Bhola it became clear that he had no interest any more in his earlier life. He does not want to share it. But, yes, on asking he certainly answers, “I had read a little bit of Marx, Lenin and Mao. But read Hind Swaraj thoroughly in 2013” He added “When Rajivji gave it to me, I had put it aside in corner of my home. People do print and propagate literature of their interest, so this must be one of its kind. That is what came to mind”. After a while he continued: “After a few days all of a sudden I became eager to read it. As I started reading it, I felt good! Then I read through the entire book without a break.” Bhola describes in simple terms the transformation he felt inside him after reading Hind Swaraj. He said “Self-confidence grew in me after reading this book. I started attending and participating in Swaraj Peeth’s Hind Swaraj and Nonviolence Camps. Then could I understand the whole thing, I realized that following this path we can rightly diagnose our plight and find right solutions to our problems,”


Ever since Bhola’s daily routine has changed. He is holding camps in village after village; taking out Hind Swaraj and Nonviolence Campaign marches and spreading nonviolence and Swaraj awareness. He organized a week long march in February 2015 with a team of 15. It is unfortunate that youth who were part of Hind Swaraj March are being identified as Naxalites and being arrested by the police. By doing so the local administration is creating a new problem which is an impediment. Even intelligentsia believe that one the prime reason for Naxalism’s spread is state high handedness and atrocities. Youth, on finding right alternative, do get attracted towards it and get aligned. Bhola alleges, “ By arresting innocent youth police is swelling the ranks of Maoists. This is how Naxalism has been advanced in the adjutant Jamui District. Come what may, even if I am hanged, we will not allow this to happen in Banka district. Rajiv Vora told us “some veterans and important who matter in Banka district and those who knew him outside were quite surprised at Bhola Prasad Yadav joining Hind Swaraj and Nonviolence campaign. They told me it was the real mark of success and promise of Swaraj Peeth’s work. Gandhian thinker Rajiv Vora adds “ Naxalism is spreading and State power is unable to resolve this problem. Such humble experiments and efforts like ours are showing some possibilities, for answer finally lies only in Gandhi’s Nonviolence. The wrongful handling by the central forces and the police is something to be corrected. It negatively impacts people’s faith in the methods in which the final solution lies. Governments have their intelligence network and don’t they get report on all this? If not, then it is alarming! “



(Translated from original Hindi article )