How the 1965 Indo-Pak war changed Anna Hazare’s Vision

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Anna Hazare (Kisan Baburao Anna Hazare) is a renowned Indian social activist who has been in the forefront, for weeding out corruption, transparency in governance and rural development. He was born on June 15, 1937 in Bhingar, in the Bombay province of British India.

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Childhood

His parents, Baburao and Laxmi Bai had five children, two sister and five brothers, Kisan being the eldest one. Later, he was called as ‘Anna’ which means the ‘elder one’.

Anns’s father worked as an unskilled worker in an Ayuverdic shop. The family tried their best to make ends meet; they eventually moved to their ancestral village of Ralegan Siddhi, where they had ownership of a small piece of land.  A relative took upon himself to take care of Anna’ education and accompanied him to Mumbai since there was no school in the village.  But the family found it difficult to finance the education of the young boy and he had to drop out of school in the seventh standard.  In fact, he was the only  one who had some amount of schooling, his other siblings were not fortunate to get educated.

Anna sold flowers near Dadar railway station in Mumbai, he eventually ended up starting two flower shops in the city.  He also joined groups that exercised vigilance, preventing landlords and thugs from extorting money out of poor people.

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How Anna Hazare became a social activist

Hazare has an army background, he was drafted into the Indian army in the year 1960, where he worked a truck driver, becoming a soldier. He was trained in Aurangabad.  He was enlisted in the Indo –Pakistan war of 1965, where he was posted in the Khem Karan, part of the border.  During the military attack comprising a bomb, fire exchange and aerial assault, everyone was killed except Hazare, who drove the truck.  War-time experiences and sheer poverty led Hazare into depression, wherein he contemplated suicide too.

Hazare introspected his life and the way he ended up a sole survivor in the truck attack. Referring to the truck attack incident, he says, “The incident made me think that God wanted me to stay alive for a purpose. I was reborn in the battlefield of Khem Karan. I decided to commit my new life for the benefit of people.” He was discharged from military service in 1975, after serving the Indian Army for 12 years.

A book by Swami Vivekananda ‘Call to the youth for nation building’, which he chanced upon at New Delhi Railway Station, inspired him to create a revolutionary change in the minds of people. He began to read the works of Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and Vinoba Bhave..

Hazare contributed immensely to the development of Ralegan Siddhi, a village in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. The village’s development was taken as a model for other villages to emulate.  In recognition for his efforts, Hazare was conferred with the Padma Bhushan in 1992. He is also a recipient of the Padma Shree Award.

More recently, Hazare came into limelight when he set upon an indefinite strike for the enactment of Lokpall Bill, a strict anti-corruption law. He started the hunger strike on April 5, 2011 which went on till April 9, after which the government conceded to Anna’s demands.

A movie called ‘Anna’ was made on his life released in , he came on ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ to promote the film, which releases on October 14, 2016.

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Social activist Anna Hazare's fast-unto-death entered the third day at Janter Manter in New Delhi on Thursday 7 April 2011. (Photo: IANS)

Anna Hazare – wife

Hazare is not married, he maintained that nation-building was his highest priority.

Anna Hazare  – net worth  and house

He lives in a small room connected to Sant Yadavbaba temple in Ralegan Siddhi.  In April 2011, he showed his bank balance which was a meager Rs.67,183 ($1000), with Rs.1500 ($20 ) as cash in  hand. He has 0.07 hectares of family plot in Ralegan Siddhi, used by his brother. He was given two pieces of land by a villager and Indian Army, which he donated to the village.

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