Preaching non-violence, 75-year-old Anna Hazare is no less than a hero for people across the nation. The man who once attempted to end his life and escaped the clutches of death is the new saviour who is now here to redeem the nation from corruption.
Born on Jun 15, 1937, Anna's life was a series of tumultuous affairs, at times he would often contemplate on what the real meaning of human existence was. At a time unable to overcome emotions, the Gandhian decided to end his life by committing suicide and also penned down a two page essay on why he wished to die. But Realisation dawned upon him after he came across a book written by Swami Vivekananda at a railway station at New Delhi where he was posted. As he read the book, he got answers to all his queries. He realised that serving for others betterment was the real virtue of life.
Anna joined the Army in the year 1962 during the Indo-China war after the government appealed to the youth of the country to join the Indian Army. Patriotic to the core, Anna immediately joined the force in 1963 and served as an army truck driver, after which he dedicated 15 years of his life to the armed services.
Anna's close shave with death came in the year 1965, when Pakistan launched an air strike on Indian base in which all his fellow comrades died, him being the lone survivor even though he took a bullet through his head. Anna took it as a divine sign and realized he had a purpose to life.
After voluntarily retiring from the Indian Army, the crusader decided to go back to his native-Ralegaon Siddhi, a drought prone village in Maharashtra. Witnessing the villagers life full of misery, he initiated the denizens to conserve rainwater, making Ralegah Siddhi a self sustained model village in Ahmednagar District.
His tryst against corruption began after he set up his organization-Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Aandolan (BVJA) in 1991. After it came to light that at least 42 forest officers swindled the Maharashtra government of crores through corrupt practices, Anna brought it to the notice of government but his all efforts went in vain as no action was taken against the culprits. But using hunger strike as his weapon, the government was forced to remove six ministers.
The Right To Information Act (RTI) was sanctioned by the President of India in 2003 after Anna went on an indefinite strike at Azad Maidan.
Today, Anna is a beacon of hope for the millions of fellow Indians filled with years of pent-up frustrations on the issues of corruption. With his characteristic ways of 'aggressive non-violence", Anna has taken a vow to obliterate corruption from the country's roots and is on indefinite fast at Ramlila Maidan for a strong Lokpal, while fighting relentlessly against powerful political forces. Anna has become the new voice and leader of millions of Indians in all walks of life in possibly the greatest public uprising against corruption since the time of Independence.