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Early Life

Early Life
Born in Bhingari village of Maharashtra, Anna Hazare dropped out of school at Class 7 due to poverty, sold flowers for a while and then became a driver in the army to feed his family in a rural part of Maharashtra. After China's 1962 incursion into India when the Indian government appealed to the youth to join the Army, Hazare was among the first who joined the Indian armed forces. He was trained as a truck driver and given a posting in Punjab.

His days in the army were often spent in reading books by Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Acharya Vinoba Bhave, from whom he drew inspiration. During the 1965 war against Pakistan, Hazare survived an attack on his post; however, he saw his colleagues dying. The incident left a deep impact and he pledged to remain a bachelor and serve the country in a bigger way.

Achievements:

His struggle for bringing about change began in his own village. A long time ago it was a miserable and barren place with scanty rainfall and lacking any economy. It suffered from frequent droughts In 1975, Hazare initiated a transformation of his village through watershed development using nallah bands, check dams and contour trenches that raised the water table and helped villagers irrigate their fields. He also took up literacy programmes and measures to combat alcoholism.

While working for the village ecology, Hazare came across a case of corruption by forest officers and went on an indefinite hunger strike in Alandi near Pune. His agitation compelled the authorities to take action against the erring officers. India recognized his work by awarding him a Padma Vibhushan and a Padma Bhushan.

War against corruption

Anna formed the Bhrastachar Virodhi Jan Andolan in 1991 which gradually spread across the state in the form of district-level vigilance committees. With his trademark khadi dress and Gandhi cap, Hazare used his ingrained strength to repeatedly go on hunger strikes that led to the resignation of six ministers from the Maharashtra government.

In 1995, Hazare's fast led to exit of two state Cabinet Ministers, labeled corrupt by the Gandhian and the Sena-BJP government was forced to drop them. Hazare did not spare the Congress-NCP regime either and in 2003, went on hunger strike against four ministers, Sureshdada Jain, Nawab Malik, Vijaykumar Gavit and Padamsinh Patiln, alleging they indulged in massive corruption.

His campaign also forced the sacking of 400 corrupt officials in his home state Maharashtra. In 2009, two persons arrested for killing Congress leader Pawanraje Nimbalkar said there was a contract given out to kill him. His reputation as a man of integrity gave him clout that the corrupt found difficult to battle. He also fought for the rights of the tribal's, the lowliest of the lowliest.

But it was the hunger strike he launched in New Delhi that finally made him a national hero in no time igniting a pan-India revolt that stunned the government bogged down by corruption scandals. The modern day Mahatma, as his supporters fondly call him, in April fasted for five days in the heart of the capital, drawing tens of thousands from all walks of life who are sick and tired of India's cancerous corruption. Much like Mahatma Gandhi, Anna Hazare has led a humble life. He still lives in a small room attached to the Yadavbaba temple in Ralegan-Siddhi village in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district.

Thank You

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