Anna Hazare and Anti Corruption Movement
Corruption is a new buzz word in India. The fact is corruption is prevalent everywhere just not in India. It is universal and some or the other big gun raises a voice against it. The reality is it hardly gets controlled rather the raised voice fades away after some time but here and there either in small or big way we can see corruption rising head on and off. Fighting against corruption in India as a whole is a new spirit. Anti corruption campaign has taken a front seat and has become a common goal for the Indians at present. The question is ‘Why shouldn’t be?’ It is not that the Indians earlier were pro corruption but making an anti corruption a mass movement through out India has never happened in the history of 64 years of Indian independence. Thanks to Mr. Anna Hazare, a 74 year old social activist.
Who is Anna Hazare?
Anna Hazare is a true Gandhian by nature. A full time social activist and above all thoroughly influenced by Swami Vivekananda, a great saint of India who established the name of Hinduism on a global platform. Anna, as fondly addressed, was quite distressed in his life and even he attempted suicide but failed. During that phase he came across a book by Swami Vivekananda which extremely touched the life of Anna Hazare. He felt distressed because he lacked a goal or motivation for life. Well, the preaching of Swami Vivekananda brought solace to his life. In this book Swami Vivekananda preached that the ‘ultimate motive of human life should be service to humanity’. This preaching simply changed the perspective of Anna. It worked as a turnaround in his life. He took voluntary retirement from the Army, the then he was positioned as Sepoy. After that Anna went back to Ralegan Siddhi, his native village, and his journey as a social activist began without fail.
Date of Birth —- 15th January 1937
Birth Place —- Bhingar village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra
Name of the Parents—- Baburao Hazare (Father)
Laxmi Bai (Mother)
Education—- Standard VII
Profession—- Joined Indian Army as a Truck Driver in 1963. He opted for
voluntary retirement after 15 years of service in 1978. At the
time of leaving the service Anna Hazare was ranked as Sepoy
in the 9th Maratha Battalion, Indian Army.
Marital Status—- Bachelor
He was actually taken care of by his childless aunt in Mumbai (Old name Bombay). Though Anna was born in Bhingar village but later on as his native village he stays in Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. It is only because during the birth of Anna Hazare his father, Baburao Hazare an unskilled labourer, worked in Bhingar village but later he shifted his base to Ralegan Siddhi. Whenever Anna visited Ralegan Siddhi he witnessed the helpless condition of his fellow villagers due to drought. Ralegan Siddhi was a drought prone village and the village lacked all the basic amenities to meet this drought borne crisis. While Anna Hazare was in Indian Army when he read a book by Swami Vivekananda and his thought process completely changed towards life. Anna then left the job and came to live in Ralegan Siddhi with a motive to change the condition of the drought prone village and fellow villagers. Here, starts the journey of Anna Hazare — The Social Activist.
Swami Vivekananda was the inspiration of his life. This inspiration made Anna to dedicate his life for the betterment of the civic society in India.
Anna Hazare is a great admirer and follower of Gandhiji in his means towards goal. He is the believer of non- violence and wears only Khadi.
Anna lived at his house in Ralegan Siddhi for a brief period and later he started living in a single room adjacent to the Yadavbaba temple in Ralegan Siddhi. For almost three decades or a little more Anna Hazare never stepped in at his native home in Ralegan Siddhi.
Achievements of Anna Hazare as the Social Activist:
Ralegan Siddhi was transformed from the worst village to an ideal village by Anna Hazare. It became the first example in regard to transformation of a worst village to a model village. Anna was quite upset due to the drought prone condition of the village. To improve the condition of his native village, Ralegan Siddhi, and his fellow villagers he constantly worked for it. In this connection he met Vilasrao Salunke who was working on water management through watershade development in his area. Anna liked the project and implemented in his native village and the result was positive. It raised the underground water level. Quite obviously the condition of Ralegan Siddhi improved extremely. Immense contribution of Anna Hazare and his success fetched him a great popularity. This was not the only program he took up in his native village but there were many other programs which Anna undertook for the betterment of Ralegan Siddhi. Such as:
Alcohol was banned
Eradicated caste discrimination and untouchable policy
During the time period of all the developmental work undertaken in Ralegan Siddhi Anna Hazare noticed that all work gets obstructed due to corruption. Then and there Anna thought to get rid of corruption and took his next leap. A step beyond his native village and extended to Maharashtra state.
Anna Hazare started a new movement named Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Aandolan (People’s Movement against Corruption) in 1991.One after the other stir Anna continued against corruption. In this context he became very vocal against the policies of government who failed to curb corruption as some of their authorities were fully involved in the prevalent corruption. In fighting against corruption Anna expressed his protest through strikes and fasts but in a peaceful manner. He appealed for Right to Information Act (RTI) and after a strong and long journey against corruption the government passed it as a law.
Though RTI has been passed and it proved to be a strong weapon against corruption, Still to curb corruption from the root, which is so rampant in India, Anna Hazare felt the need of a particular bill and that gave birth to the present movement and the bill named as ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’. Anna and his team proposed ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ to be passed under which every government staff including Prime Minister of India can be judged but the judging panel must be free from government interference. He is on fast from 16th August 2011at Ram Lila Maidan, New Delhi to have this ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ implemented but till now the government is unmoved. A huge section of people in India has extended a momentum to the ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ movement and continue protest against corruption.
The contribution of Anna Hazare to the society has fetched him a huge recognition within India as well as outside. He received many awards and to name a few, such as:
Vriksha Mitra Award in 1986
Padmashree in 1990
Padmabhushan in 1992
Jit Gill Memorial Award for outstanding Public Service in 2008
As an ordinary Indian it will be justified to say that due to corruption in every level the Indians are suffering a lot. Well, to be specific the ordinary Indians are the sufferers. A section of people due to their power, celebrity status or a powerful backing enjoying most of the privileges but the point is: why and what for? India is comprised of different class and section, rich and poor and above all strong and downtrodden people so it needs to have a law which can stop the misuse of power, money, name and fame. No one should be deprived of his right but it is sad as it is a regular practice in India. Thus, protesting against corruption is the only way to bring in a positive change in the system. Anna Hazare is simply doing that and has started anti corruption movement.
Now, when a person raises voice against any ongoing system or order it is bound to get responses of different kind. Positive, negative, cold or neutral responses are always expected. The movement of Anna is no different. It is also getting responses of different kind. I am an ordinary Indian and have no political or law background to judge the means and methods opted by Anna Hazare to carry the anti corruption movement.
The ultimate thing what I want to opine is that the anti corruption movement led by Anna is a right thought to clean the system and society. If there is any drawback in the means and methods of the movement against corruption then it should be looked into from all sides by the concerned people for the betterment of India. This anti corruption movement has not only evoked a huge support from the Indian civil society but also managed to harness a great support outside India through out the world. Thus, corruption is common so it has evoked so much support.
At this juncture, the need of the hour is all the concerned people must keep national issue and interest above ego and prestige. Softening of stand and understanding the seriousness of the issue will brighten the prospect of India. In near future if it happens that we are awarded with corruption free India then Anna Hazare will be remembered with honor and reverence.
Anna seems to be victorious as on 12th day (27.08.11) of his fast the government has agreed to some of his demands. It is still a long way to go but at least a step has been put forward towards it. On 28.08.11, the 13th day of the fast, Anna Hazare will break his fast but the anti corruption movement will go on until ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ is passed and becomes a law. May the hard work of Anna reflect in India with a corruption free environment!
Anna Hazare after his triumph on the issue of accepting the demand related to ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ by the government in regard to anti corruption movement said:
“I thank all the parliamentarians for what they have done today. But today’s victory is only a half victory for the Jan Lokpal Bill. This half victory is the victory of all Indians across the nation”.
Another Feather on Anna’s Cap
On 21st September 2011, a team of two Pakistani delegates named Nasir Aslam Zahid, a retired Supreme Court judge and presently a member of the India – Pakistan judicial committee on prisoners’ justice along with Karamat Ali, trade union leader and peace activist. met the Indian social activist Anna Hazare at his native village, Ralegan Siddhi. The Pakistani delegates wanted Anna to visit Pakistan so that he may guide them to fight against corruption in Pakistan. They felt there is no Anna Hazare in Pakistan so they need Anna Hazare from India. Anna accepted the offer but it all depends upon his health. Great achievement!