Anna Hazare social activist profile and biography

Who is Anna Hazare? How is Anna Hazare connected with the India Lokpal Bill? This article gives information on the life and times of Anna Hazare and how he launched the anti-corruption movement in India.

Kisan Baburao Hazare, respectfully referred to as Anna Hazare, is a native of Ralegan Siddhi, Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. Anna's father first worked as an unskilled labourer in a pharmacy and was often in debt. On seeing the poor financial situation in the family, Anna's aunt took him to Mumbai and paid for his education. Anna studied only up to the 7th Standard as he wished to take up some work to send money back home to his father and brothers. He initially took up work selling flowers in a shop and later set up his own shop.

Shri Anna Hazare
The next phase of Anna's life came when he joined the Indian Army during the Indo-China war and served as a truck driver in the Army for 15 years. At one point of time, he survived an attack from enemy gunfire. After a few years in the Army, he unexpectedly got suicidal tendencies but stopped from taking the extreme step on reading a book by Swami Vivekananda.

Deeply influenced by the sayings in Swami Vivekananda's book, after leaving his job voluntarily in the Army in 1977, Anna Hazare returned to his native place with a goal to serve humanity. Due to his untiring efforts he & his team succeeded in converting his drought-stricken village into one which has surplus water by setting up a water management project along the lines of one started by Vilasrao Salunke at Saswad near Pune.

It was in the 1990s that Anna Hazare joined the campaign for the Right to Information (RTI) Act. In fact, the President of India signed the draft of the RTI Act after Anna Hazare went on a 12-day fast in 2003. This very same draft was considered as the base document for the enactment of the National Right to Information Act-2005.

As a crusader for social causes, Anna Hazare has resorted to hunger strikes at least 8 times. One of these occasions was when he demanded stern action against more than 40 forest officials who had duped the Govt. by corrupt means. His campaign at that time was launched through the Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Andolan. The State Govt. was forced to take notice of Anna Hazare's hunger strike and eventually took action against the officials.

A major achievement of Anna Hazare's campaigns was his 10-day hunger strike to bring to book various officials and Ministers during the time when Manohar Joshi was Chief Minister of the State. Thanks to Anna Hazare's fast, enquiries were made into corruption charges against 4 Ministers in various cases.

Awards and Honours: Anna Hazare has been honoured with the Padma Shri in 1990 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1992. In addition, he has been the recipient of numerous awards from various state, national and international organizations, including the prestigious Transparency International (IT) Integrity award in 2003 from Transparency International.

Anna Hazare has, as mentioned earlier, repeatedly stood up against corruption by officials and Ministers. Earlier this month, he began a fast unto death to ensure that the long-dormant Lokpal Bill, which would halt corruption at even the highest levels, would be enacted. Starting the movement in Delhi, the seat of the Govt. of India, millions of people across India joined the movement.

Today, when Anna Hazare is responsible for putting the Jan Lokpal Bill draft in motion & making the Central Govt. of India finally aware of how necessary it is to tackle corruption, some political people are accusing him of trying to bring down the Govt. and of using "blackmailing" tactics (meaning his hunger strike and call for filling in jails). Actor, activist and Parliamentarian Shabana Azmi said "The Lokpal Bill has been around for four decades. Every successive government, over the years, has claimed to support it but when push comes to shove, it has attempted to water it down. Casting aspersions on Anna Hazare's motives will not go down well with anyone." (quoted in Hindustan Times, dt.10th April 2011).

If you are reading this and wish to support Anna Hazare, see how you can join the anti-corruption movement: India against corruption.

Learn more about Anna Hazare: Anna Hazare website


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