Sep 032011

1. He is a Simple Man

Anna Hazare is a famous social activist of Maharashtra. Till recently his activities were limited to his own state. In April 2011 he decided to fight with the mighty central government. This very successful social fighter has no house or bank account on his name. 72-year man lives the life of a fakir. He has sacrificed his entire life for the welfare of the people. Due to hectic welfare schedules he has not been able to visit his own village for the last 40 years.

2. What changed his life

Anna lost his parents at an early age. He had to leave school after VII class. He joined Indian national army as a driver. Even in army he spoke against corruption. He took interest in reading about Vivekanand, Gandhi and other social personalities. He also fought in the 1965 Indo-Pak war. Once in a combat he lucklily survived and thought God gave him a new life. He decided to dedicate his new life to the welfare of the society. Then he took voluntary retirement from the army and came back to his Ralegaon Siddhi village (distt. Ahmednagar, Maharashtra) to help people to live a better life..

3. His first big achievement

In 1975 his village was inflicted with poverty, crime and under-development. It was also a den of illicit liquor. Most of its land was barren. He decided to change the picture of his village completely by tranforming it to a model village. He contributed his savings in the development of the village. He persuaded the people to join hands with him. With his boldness he even succeeded in removing liquor mafia from the village, never bowing to their threats.

He aked his fellow villagers to take an oath to stick to five commandments: 1. prohibition to liquor, 2. family planning, 3. voluntary labour, 4. a ban on open grazing and 5. a ban on felling trees. After a few years this village became a self-reliant and the richest village of the state.

4. How he suddenly rose to an international fame

For years he faught in Maharashtra against corruption and mafia. Year 2010 had shaken Indians with large scale political corruption. Misdeeds of politicians like Suresh Kalmadi and A. Raja involving rupees thousands of crores had shaken the nation. People were unable to do anything. Anna Hazare decided to start a battle with the mighty central government to stop political corruption.

On April 5 2011, he decided to go on a fast unto death. It was his non-violent Gandhian weapon to put pressure on the Government. He wanted the government to be serious on enacting anti-corruption act (Lokpal Bill) which could stop political and beaurocratic corruption in the country. Hidden anger of Indians suddenly exploded. People from all sections of the society came to his support. He got support even from the Indians living abroad.

Overwheming response to his movement surprised media as well political parties. It shook the central government. Feeling pressure the government bowed down to the demand of frail old man, and agreed on forming a joint committee to draft a bill that could nail the corrupt people in government (without seeking the permission of the government). People were overjoyed with this success.

5. Will his struggle bring real results?

Anna has been known for his stubbornness and tough battle. Once he decides to do a thing nothing can make him fear or backtrack. Now due to the immense sport he got, political parties are under pressure to help pass the new Lokpal Bill in parliament.

His earlier successes when he was not even having such an overnwheming support:

a. 6 corrupt ministers in Maharashtra government had to resign
b. 400 corrupt officers were dismissed from their jobs
c. Maharashtra RTI Act was passed in 2002
d. Central Government withdrew its proposal to amend Central RTI Act in 2006

– Anandrahi

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