The country was faced with a critical situation in some parts, specially what is known as Madhya Pradesh today. Some elements, who instigated the local population, predominantly tribals,had not reconciled that India was free and were conspiring to fragment the country further and carve out an independent Christian country comprising Chhota Nagpur (Bihar), part of M.P,Orissa and West Bengal with the help of some divisive forces, which were responsible for the partition of the country. The tribes, mostly Christian converts, under the tutelage of Christian missionaries grew so hostile to the authority of free India that when late Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla the then Chief Minister of the then C.P. & Berar Province toured the tribal area, he was greeted with the black flags & cries of ‘Jai Jesus’, in response to ‘Jai Hind‘ from the dais.
To meet this dangerous situation late Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Ravi Shankar Shukla and Thakkar Bapa devised an action plan. Thakkar Bapa’s choice fell on one young freedom fighter and advocate of Nagpur, Ramakant Keshav Deshpande popularly known as Balasaheb Deshpande for implementing the plan in the eastern part of the province Jasgpur Nagar, an erstwhile princely state, which had just merged with the Union of India and was the storm centre of the separatist movement. He was appointed by the provincial government with special powers to look after tribal welfare work in the area.
Young Deshpande showed remarkable results in a couple of years. Within a year, he was able to open 110 schools in the area and his other welfare innovations coupled with helpful administrative measures, the atmosphere of hostility turned into that of tranquility.
After the death of Thakkar Bapa in 1950, Shri Deshpande resigned from government service, returned to Nagpur, resumed his legal practice, Shri Deshpande had a thorough discussion with Shri Guruji Golwalkar, then Sarsanghachalak of R. S. S. and both of them reached to the conclusion that vanvasis are an integral part of the society and therefore the goal should be to make the vanvasis ( tribals ) realise that the entire society is behind them for their developmental needs. The Independent organisation for tribal is a need to generate awareness among the Vanvasis about their faiths,culture,customs,traditions and make them self reliant and self-confident thereby promoting educational,health awareness & development programmes and generating enlightened leadership among them.In December 1952,Balasaheb Deshpande returned to Jashpur and started a hostel with a handful of tribal boys in a dilapidated palace which was permitted by the Raja.This is how Kalyan Ashram came into being.
In the year 1977, Shri Balasaheb Deshpande and his colleagues took an overall view of the tribal India and found that the situation which existed in earlier Jashpurnagar area is prevalent in other tribal areas of the country.It was therefore felt that the work of Kalyan Ashram should be spread in all the states of India.Keeping in view of above observations,the prominent persons of Vidarbha Region established a trust named “Vidarbha Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram” (VVKA )in Nov-1978. VVKA is an independent organization affiliated to “Akhil Bhartia Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram“
The tiny sapling grew into a mighty Banyan tree – Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram – now the biggest voluntary organisation in the service of 7.5 crores of Vanvasis (tribals) in the country. These people living in remote hills, mountains and jungles who are also known as Adivasis or Schedule Tribes are an inseparable part of the Hindu Society. Passing away of Balasaheb Deshpande in 1995, made no dent in Kalyan Ashram work, which is steadily expanding under the able leadership of our young President, Shri Jagdev Ram Oraon.