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rashmi at June 6th, 2015 00:28 — #1
From a soldier to a social reformer, from driver to an anti-corruption crusader, from Olive Green to pristine white Khadi ---- Anna Hazare’s four decade long journey has been unprecedented. He resurrected a barren village into an ‘ideal village’, fought social norms and stigma, pioneered work on ‘Right to Information’ and shook the nation’s conscience by his long battle for the Lok Pal Bill. Naik Kisan Bapat Baburao Hazare, now known as Anna Hazare has seen it all.
Anna was born on 15 January 1940 in Bhingar village in Ahmednagar in a poor labourer’s family. His childhood was difficult. He was raised by his grandfather initially and then by his childless aunt. Education was too much of a luxury and he had to quit his studies midway after the 7th standard due to financial problems.
His tryst with the army came in the aftermath of the Indo-China War of 1962. In the wake of the debacle, he responded to the national appeal for enlistment and joined the Army in 1963. He began his career as a MT driver in the Army Service Corps. Just two years down the line, he encountered the turning point in his life during the 1965 Indo-Pak war. At that time, Hazare was posted near Khemkaran in Punjab, the scene of some of the thickest fighting. His base was strafed by Pakistani aircraft and virtually all of Hazare's comrades became martyrs. He himself survived by a whisker as a bullet whizzed past his head. Hazare believes that this was a sign given to tell him that he had a purpose to life.
Always influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s teachings, Anna now took an oath to never marry, but to dedicate his life in the service of humanity, just as his mentor had done. He passed the rest of his army career somewhat uneventfully and then in 1978 he took voluntary retirement and returned home to Ralegaon Siddhi, a village near Ahmednagar. He was 39 years old at that time. Here he threw himself into upgrading the ecology and economy of the village and transformed the barren, drought-prone village into a model of rural development by effective water harvesting and conservation methods. The villagers would boast that even in times of severe drought, the village always had adequate water stored in its heifers and catchment areas which they could even release for adjoining villages. Anna also took on the taboos, fighting for women’s rights, education and social equality. He also gave away his house and chose to live in the courtyard of the village temple, a place which became his home for almost three decades. And then moved on to a larger stage.
Always an ardent campaigner against corruption, Hazare had raised a hornet’s nest in Maharashtra by protesting against the allocation and misuse of funds meant for development. He took his cause to the national stage and mobilised an entire nation against corruption and his struggle became a rallying point for people like you and me – sickened by the blatant corruption in the nation. His long struggle finally led to the Lok Pal Bill being passed (albeit in a diluted form) and that could help in cleaning up the Aegean stables to some extent.
At 76, this frail old man, still has the energy and drive to inspire a nation. He has been called the conscience-keeper of the nation, another Gandhi or Jai Prakash Narayan and has been considered a role model for the youth. And all this because a bullet whizzed past his head fifty years ago.
"Surely, one needs to live for oneself and the family but simultaneously one owes something to your neighbour, your village and your nation too." Anna Hazare.
bgshively at June 12th, 2015 07:43 — #2
It is sad that while we have people like Anna Hazare, who is called the Nation' s voice against Corruption, on the other side we have corruption rising at an alarming rate within the services itself. That is cause for concern.
rashmi at June 12th, 2015 08:29 — #3
I understand your concern and all of us who come from service backgrounds and in fact from generations that have served in the Army, we are equally disturbed and concerned by the rising corruption and scams that are gnawing at the innards of the Indian Armed Forces. We all hope for positive change and the system being cleaned up.
priyanka at June 14th, 2015 03:44 — #4
rashmi at June 15th, 2015 08:53 — #5
Yes indeed he is an inspiration for us all.
basantakumarsama at April 6th, 2017 03:22 — #6
He z a real Hero in uniform as well as a Hero of our nation. As a social reformer he made us remembered Bapuji after a long gap. Set an example for his penance to implement Lokpal Bill. He z every indian's pride. Long live.