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Life and times of Anna Hazare

delhi Updated: Jun 18, 2011 22:57 IST

Hindustan Times
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Growing up in poverty
Born Kishan Baburao Hazare on January 15, 1937 at Bhingar Village in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district. Poverty forced the son of an unskilled labourer to shift to the ancestral Ralegan Sidhi village in 1952.

His childless aunt paid for his education, he sold flowers in Mumbai and struggled to study till class VII.

In 1963, joined the Indian army as a driver the after India-China war of 1962. Took voluntary retirement after 12 years and returned to his native village Ralegan Sidhi, where agriculture output had dropped owing to a draught.

Rise of the crusader
Hazare began implementing his watershed management plan in his village. He used all his savings and inspired people to provide free labour propagating Gandhian philosophy. The ground water levels rose and irrigation was available for 1,500 acres. Food-grain yield, too, rose and the villagers became self-sufficient

In 1980, with an increase in agriculture production, launched a grain bank for people who did not have enough food and spearheaded a campaign against alcohol in his village.

In 1990 the government awarded him with the Padma Shri honour.

Unleashed his first battle against corruption in 1991 when he launched the Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Andolan with a campaign against the collusion of 40 forest officials and contractors. All officials were later suspended. The next year, in 1992, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan award.

No minister
In May 1997 Hazare protested against alleged malpractices in the purchase of power-looms by the Vasantrao Naik Bhathya Vimukt Jamati Vikas Manch and the Mahatma Phule Magasvargiya Vikas Mandal, under control of then Maharashtra Social Welfare minister Babanrao Gholap of the Shiv Sena and his wife. Gholap filed a suit against him. Hazare was arrested in April 1998 and later released after spending three months in jail.

Gholap quit the cabinet on April 27 1999.

In 2003 Hazare raised corruption charges against 4 NCP ministers and started a fast unto death. He ended his fast after then CM Sushil Kumar Shinde formed a one-man probe team to look into the charges. The commission found some charges to be true resulting in resignations of two ministers. The same year, he won the Integrity award instituted by Transparency International for his efforts to end corruption in the government and forestry sector.

The information activist
In 2000 Hazare started a campaign that forced the Maharashtra government to enact the RTI Act. When the Centre enacted the RTI Act in 2005 he walked 10,000 km to create awareness about the law.

Feisty and fasting
In November 2010, Team Anna decided to launch a campaign for the lokpal bill.

In January 2011, Anna announced he would start a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar.

On April 5, he went on a fast and four days later, ended his protest after the government notified a joint drafting committee for the lokpal bill.

On June 16, after seven meetings, the joint drafting committee failed to reach a consensus and Hazare announced he’d fast again from August 16.