Kisan Baburao Hazare is popularly known as Anna Hazare (born 15 June 1937) is an Indian social activist, army and prominent leader in the 2011 Indian anti-corruption movement, using nonviolent methods following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. Anna Hazare is one of India’s well-acclaimed social activists. A former soldier in the Indian army, Anna is well known and respected for upgrading the ecology and economy of the village of Ralegan Siddhi which is located in the drought prone Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra state.
Kisan Hazare was born on 15 June 1937 in Bhingar, a small village in Hingangaon near the city of Bhingar, in Bombay Province (present-day Maharashtra). Kisan’s father, Baburao Hazare, worked as an unskilled labourer in Ayurveda Ashram Pharmacy. Kisan’s grandfather was working for the army in Bhingar, when he was born. His grandfather died in 1945, but Baburao continued to stay at Bhingar. In 1952, Baburao resigned from his job and returned to his own village, Ralegan Siddhi. Kisan had six younger siblings and the family faced significant hardships. Kisan’s childless aunt offered to look after him and his education, and took him to Mumbai. Kisan studied up to the seventh standard in Mumbai and then sought employment, due to the economic situation in his household. He started selling flowers at Dadar to support his family. He soon started his own shop and brought two of his brothers to Bombay.
He was awarded the Padma Bhushan—the third-highest civilian award—by the Government of India in 1992 for his efforts in establishing this village as a model for others.Anna has been ranked as the topmost influential person in Mumbai by a national daily newspaper. Also, he has been believed to be the current youth icon in India. He has faced criticism for his authoritarian views on justice, including death as punishment for corrupt public officials and his alleged support for forced vasectomies as a method of family planning.
In 1991 Hazare launched the Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Aandolan (BVJA) (People’s Movement against Corruption), a popular movement to fight against corruption in Ralegaon Siddhi. In the same year he protested against the collusion between 40 forest officials and timber merchants. This protest resulted in the transfer and suspension of these officials.
In 2011, Hazare initiated a Satyagraha movement for passing a stronger anti-corruption Lokpal (ombudsman) bill in the Indian Parliament as conceived in the Jan Lokpal Bill (People’s Ombudsman Bill). The Jan Lokpal Bill was drafted earlier by N. Santosh Hegde, former justice of the Supreme Court of India and Lokayukta of Karnataka, Prashant Bhushan, a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court and Arvind Kejriwal, a social activist along with members of the India Against Corruption movement. This draft bill incorporated more stringent provisions and wider power to the Lokpal (Ombudsman) than the draft Lokpal bill prepared by the government in 2010. These include placing “the Prime Minister within the ambit of the proposed lokpal’s powers”.
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