This is an inspirational story of a social activist who led various movements to support rural development, increase governmental transparency, and punish corruption in public life. This is a person who is an ex-army man and survived in Indo-Pakistan war in 1965 while his colleagues became martyrs. This inspirational person is none other than Anna Hazare.
Anna Hazare was born on 15th June 1937 in Bhingar. He was born to Baburao Hazare and Laxmi Bai. He is the eldest among his siblings and has two sisters and four brothers. Later, he got the name Anna as he was the eldest in his family. Anna’s father was an unskilled labourer in Ayurveda Ashram Pharmacy and struggled a lot to support his family financially. The family later moved to Ralegan Siddhi where they had a small amount of agricultural land.
One of his relatives took the responsibility to educate him. He took Anna to Mumbai as there were no primary schools in his village. He soon had to drop out of his school because his relative could not support him financially anymore. To earn a living, he started selling flowers at Dadar Railway Station in Mumbai and eventually managed to own two flowers shops in Mumbai.
In 1960, Anna Hazare was drafted in the Indian Army where he initially worked as an army truck driver. He was later appointed as a soldier and undertook army training in Aurangabad. During the Indo-Pakistan war in 1965, Anna was posted in the Khem Karan sector at the border. During this was, only Anna could survive and the rest of his comrades became a martyr.
After the Indo-Pakistan war in 1965, Anna interpreted his survival as a sign that his new life was intended to serve needy people. Hazare came across a book “Call to the youth for nation building” which impressed him a lot.
Contribution to the Society
Transformation & Development of Ralegan Siddhi
He contributed a lot in the transformation and development of Ralegan Siddhi a village in Ahmednagar district. The condition of farmers was very worse due to acute shortage of water in the village. He even contributed PF saving (Rs. 20,000) for the renovation of a temple in the village. Until 1975, the developed a lot as people carried out tree-planting, rainwater harvesting, and etc. Currently, the village’s biggest achievement is in non-conventional energy
Jan Lokpal Bill
In 2011, Anna Hazare participated in the Satyagraha movement and went on a hunger strike. In this movement, Anna was campaigning for the passing of a stronger anti-corruption Lokpal Bill in the Indian Parliament. This bill was known as Jan Lokpal Bill and there were around 150 people who joined Anna Hazare in this movement including Swami Ramdev, former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev, Arvind Kejriwal, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, and Sri Sri Ravishankar. This movement spread to various cities and Government of India ordered to form a joint committee. After this, the bill was passed in the parliament unanimously.
Except for these movements and social activities, Anna Hazare contributed a lot to the development of society. Anna Hazare has been awarded many awards like Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri, Mahaveer Awards, Shiromani Award, Krushi Bhushan Award, and has been given Honorary Doctorate by Gandhigram Rural University.
There is a lot that can be learned through the inspirational story of Anna Hazare.