Anna Hazare- The man who fought for a good cause but lead down by politicians
Kisan Baburao Hazare, well know as Anna Hazare born on 15th June 1937. He is a social activist and anarcho-pacifist. He was awarded Padma Bhushan by the Indian government for his role in developing model village in Maharashtra state. Padma Bhusan is the one of the highest civilian award given by the government of India.
His role model is Mahatma Gandhi and his mode of strike is nonviolent fast. His recent protest in the beginning of 2011, of fast until death against the corruption and to bring the Jan Lokpal Bill, which en-powers the Lokpal committee to deal corruption cases against the government officails. The government agreed to draft a Lokpal Bill with joint effort of both government and civil soceity.
He was recruited in the Indian Army in 1962, emergency recruitment process, during Indo-Pak war, thought he was physically did not meet the standards. He served as a driver. He narrowly escaped from war, as all his comrades died during Pak airstrike. He was deeply motivated by Swami Vivekananda's book, "Call to the youth for nation building". The people which inspired him is Vivekananda, Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave. He survived road accident in 70s. At the age of 38 he returned from the army.
He spend more time in constructing model village and worked among the poor.
Anna made Ralegan Siddhi the model village
in 1975, after retiring from the military, he decided to make his village self sufficient. Ralegan Siddhi, is a small village in Maharashtra. It was severely affected by drought and poverty.He understood that one of the main reason for poverty in his village like any other villages in India is alcoholism. He organized the youth in his village and named Tarun Mandal. The youth wing decided to closed down the liquor shops, most of them voluntarily by the owners themselves. But still a few continued the habit, by getting the alcohol from the neighboring villages. These people were punished. Later on tobacco products were also banned in the village.
Later on Hazare asked the government of Maharashtra state to stop issuing the license ti new liquor shops. For that the government conducted a poll in which if more than 50 percent of the people vote for it they will stop issue of new license. After the poll result, no new shops were issued license.
Other activities he performed in the village to make it self sustainable are watershed and rain water harvest, increased the milk production, uprooting unaccountability, education for all etc.
Fight for Jan Lokpal Bill along with Aravind Kejriwal
Hazare recently came to the spotlight with his fast until death against the corruption. This almost shake the New Delhi. This has shown a common man who elected the representatives can also pressurize them. The main objective of Jan Lokpal Bill is to bring down corrupt government officials as well as corrupt politicians. The people choose the government, but who will be responsible for the government employees. According to Jan Lokapal, the Lokpal committee can take actions against corrupt bureaucrats. The action will be immediate if the case is proven unlike the normal court procedure.
The government of India agreed with Hazare, but later there was some difference between the civic representatives and the government representatives which mainly concerned with including Prime Minister in the trial if he is corrupt, i.e. he will not enjoy the immunity provided by the constitution. The government argues for that they need to change the constitution.
Hazare threaten to go for indefinite strike from August 16th of 2011, if Jan Lokpal Bill is not tabled in the Parliament before that. He is met various political party leaders in June and July before the all party meeting regarding the issue. He was supported by major public figures like Baba Ramdev, Kiran Bedi, Medha Patkar, Ashok Hegde.
The ruling party played trick card by trying to dilute the bill and also to bring reservation in the panel of Lokpal. This was only to split people based on the caste and religion,the dirty trick which is usually done by politicians in India.
He staged the protest with prominent social leaders of that time which includes Aravind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Bharat Bhushan, Kiran Bedi, Medha Patkar, Gen. BK SIngh and all.
At later stage Kejriwal was interested to make political party for which Anna and few of the members was not in favor. When Kejriwal made Aam Admi Party many leaders who protested for Jan Lokpal Bill was not in favor of it. Kiran Bedi, BK Singh, Ramdev opposed this move.
There were criticism from various corners stating Kejriwal used Hazare's popularity to gain supporters to form his own party.
A few politicians tried to malign his reputation by stating he ran away from army and he has collected fund from public and there is no accounts for the money. Later on the main party revoked the statement and said it was a personal opinion of the person who made it. The person who made these statements were party spokesperson of that particular political party and when the statement became controversial they had to bent down. The youths of India were fed up with the corruption and they were deeply motivated by Anna Hazare. The people considered this itself as second freedom movement in India.
In August 2013, he toured the United States to celebrate the Indian independence day. He inaugurated celebration in New york city. Though he is not very active and seen in Indian media post split with Aravind Kejariwal, who formed a political party against the wish of Anna, Indians in the US were eager to listen the anti-corruption crusader.