Anna Hazare (15 June 1937) is an Indian social activist who promoted rural development, increased transparency, and investigated and punished government corruption.
He was born on 15 June 1937, in Mumbai, India. His dad worked as an unskilled laborer at the Ayurveda Ashram Pharmacy. After a while, the family moved back to Ralegan Siddhi, where they owned some land. Due to the lack of primary schools in the village, a relative took Hazare to Mumbai to get an education. The relative couldn’t afford to support him anymore and Hazare’s schooling ended when he was in the seventh grade. He started selling flowers at the Dadar railway station in Mumbai and eventually owned two flower shops.
In 1960, he joined the Indian Army. After training at Aurangabad, he worked as an army truck driver.
When the Indo-Pak War broke out in 1965, he was posted at the border in Khem Karan, where he miraculously survived an enemy attack.
He thought about the meaning of life, though, after emerging as the last survivor in a war. He started reading great thinkers like Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, and Vinoba Bhave, which made him realize he needed to do something meaningful.
In the army, he served in places like Punjab, Sikkim, Bhutan, Mizoram, Maharashtra, and Jammu. After 15 years in the army, he was honorably discharged in 1975.
Upon his return to Ralegan Siddhi, he was dismayed to find abject poverty, water problems, alcoholism, and hopelessness. So, he decided to do something.
For the village’s rebuilding, he organized a youth group called ‘Tarun Mandal’.
In 1976, he helped start a pre-school in Ralegan Siddhi to increase literacy in the area. The Mandal went on to build a high school in 1979 after getting such a great response.
A grain bank was started in 1980 by Hazare to solve this problem of a lack of grain in the village.
He told the people how to improve irrigation systems in the village so they could grow pulses and oilseeds which required less water. Aside from his own village, he helped farmers in 70 other villages improve their crops.
Hazare taught his villagers to shun conventional evil practices like caste discrimination and untouchability. The lower castes people, play a big part in the socio-economic life of the village.
In 1991, he started a public movement against corruption called Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Aandolan (BVJA) which was intended to raise awareness about corruption in India.
During the Right to Information Act campaign in Mumbai in 2003, he went on an indefinite hunger strike. In 2005, the President finally signed the RTI Act after many protests. He spread awareness about the Act all over the country after it went into effect.
In 2011, he started a Satyagraha movement to get the Lokpal Bill passed. The non-violent methods he used to protest inspired many Indians. The Lokpal Act went into effect in 2013.
In 1990, he was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India.
In 1992, he received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India.
Read More; Remembering Padmini on his Birth AnniversaryTags: 15 June 1937, Anna Hazare, Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Vinoba Bhave