Anna HazareA revolutionary in rural development
“The dream of India as a strong nation will notbe realized without self-reliant, self-sufficientvillages, and this can be achieved onlythrough social commitment and involvementof the common man."Anna Hazare
The life of HazareKisan Baburao Hazare was born in 1937, in thepoor maharastrian village where his familyused to live. Due to the family’s bad financialconditions, he had to leave school after 7thclass and start working as a flower seller.
He joined the army as a military driver in 1962and took part in the Indo-Pakistani war, duringwhich he was the sole survivor of a terribleenemy attack. The tragic episode sent himthinking...“I felt that God wanted me to stay alive for somereason.And I decided to dedicate my new life to servingpeople”.
A model of sustainable developmentInspired by the works of Gandhi and SwamiVivekananda, he went back to RaleganSiddhi, his own village.The town’s economic and social conditions wereterrible: the misuse of natural resources hadled to water shortage and poverty. Mostfamilies were plagued by famine, alcoholismand violence.
Hazare decided to take up the situation and,together with a group of young villagers, theyadopted provisions to:• Prohibit the sell and use of alcohol andtobacco in the village• Increase educational levels by opening newschools using common funds• Create a Grain Bank, where farmers couldborrow grain during times of drought• Develop a project to collect and use rainwater for agricultural purposes
Several other villages adopted Hazare’s methodsand resolutions: Ralegan Siddhi suddenlybecame a model village for all rural India.
Anti-corruption movementIn 1991 Hazare started his People’s Movementagainst Corruption, which campaigned for thepunishment and removal of public officersinvolved in corruption scandals.He also fought to compel the government toinform the people about the way publicmoney was spent.
Lokpal Bill MovementHazare is best known for his battle to pass astronger anti-corruption bill in the Indianparliament.In April 2011, he started a fast to persuade theparliament to approve the Jan Lokpal Bill, alaw that would have strengthen the powers ofthe Lokpal.
Who is the Lokpal?The Lokpal is the ombudsman of IndiaAn officer who has the power toinvestigate citizens’ complaints againstthe state.The more powers the ombudsman has,the more citizens are protected againstabuses and corruption of publicinstitutions!
The Lokpal Bill Movement gained a great publicsupport: several strikes and protests led theparliament to accept Hazare’s requests and,after a few months of negotiating, the LokpalBill was finally approved on 28th August 2011.
Nowadays, Hazare and his supporters are stillfighting to eradicate corruption......What can you do tofight it too?
Can you give any example ofcorruption in everyday life?What can you do in these situations?