Anna the Military man
In 1962, events in South Asia meant that large-scale army recruitments were being undertaken. Despite not meeting the physical requirements, 25-year-old Hazare was selected, as emergency recruitment was taking place in the Indian Army.
After training at Aurangabad in Maharashtra he started his career in the Indian Army as a driver in 1963. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Hazare was posted at the border in the Khem Karan sector. On 12 November 1965, Pakistan launched air attacks on Indian bases, and all of Hazare’s comrades were killed; he was the only survivor of that convoy. It was a close save for Hazare as one bullet had passed by his head. He was driving a truck. This led him to dwell on the purpose and meaning of life and death.
He came across a small booklet titled “Call to the youth for nation building” by Swami Vivekananda in a book stall at the New Delhi railway station. He realized that saints sacrificed their own happiness for that of others, and that he needed to work towards ameliorating the sufferings of the poor. He started to spend his spare time reading the works of Vivekananda, Gandhi, and Vinoba Bhave. During the mid-1970s, he again survived a road accident while driving. It was at that particular moment that Hazare took an oath to dedicate his life to the service of humanity, at the age of 38. In 1975, he left the army as soon as he become eligible for receiving pension.
The tough side of Anna
Anna Hazare recognised that without addressing the menace of alcoholism, no effective and sustainable reform was possible in the village. He organised the youth of the village into an organisation named the Tarun Mandal (Youth Association). Hazare and the youth group decided to take up the issue of alcoholism. At a meeting conducted in the temple, the villagers resolved to close down liquor dens and ban alcohol in the village. Since these resolutions were made in the temple, they became in a sense religious commitments. Over thirty liquor brewing units were closed by their owners voluntarily. Those who did not succumb to social pressure were forced to close down their businesses when the youth group smashed up their liquor dens. The owners could not complain as their businesses were illegal.
When some villagers were found to be drunk they were tied to poles/pillars of the temple and flogged, sometimes personally by Hazare. He justified this harsh punishment by stating in an interview to Reader’s Digest in 1986 that “rural India was a harsh society”.
Hazare said, “Doesn’t a mother administer bitter medicines to a sick child when she knows that the medicine can cure her child? The child may not like the medicine, but the mother does it only because she cares for the child. The alcoholics were punished so that their families would not be destroyed.”
In 1980, the Grain Bank was started by him at the temple, with the objective of providing food security to needful farmers during times of drought or crop failure. Rich farmers, or those with surplus grain production, could donate a quintal to the bank. In times of need, farmers could borrow the grain, but they had to return the same amount of grain they borrowed, plus an additional quintal as an interest. This ensured that nobody in the village ever went hungry or had to borrow money to buy grain. This also prevented distress sales of grain at lower prices at harvest time.
Anna’s Full Name & his start
Kisan Baburao Hazare is an Indian social activist who is especially recognised for his contribution to the development and structuring of Ralegan Siddhi, a village in Parner taluka of Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra, India and his efforts for establishing it as a model village, for which he was awarded the Padma Bhushan—the third-highest civilian award—by the government of India in 1992. He was also awarded the Padma Shri in 1990.
Plot to kill Anna
Anna Hazare has exposed large corruption in co-operative sugar factories of Maharashtra. One of the sugar factory which Anna exposed corruption is controlled by Padamsinh Bajirao Patil, a member of Parliament of 15th Lok Sabha and higher-ranking Leader of Nationalist Congress Party from Osmanabad, and also a prime accused and conspirator in the 2006 murder case of Indian National Congress leader Pawanraje Nimabalkar.
The conspiracy to kill Hazare was exposed when Parasmal Jain, an accused in the Nimbalkar murder case, in his written confession before a magistrate said that Padamsinh Bajirao Patil had paid a sum of 3,000,000 (US$66,900) to murder Nimbalkar, and also offered him supari (contract killing sum) to kill Anna Hazare. After this written confession, Anna appealed to the state government of Maharashtra to lodge a separate First Information Report ( FIR ) against Padamsinh Bajirao Patil for conspiring to murder him but the government did not take any action in this regard.
Anna Hazare decided to lodge a complaint himself and on September 26, 2009, he lodged complaint at Parner police station of Ahmednagar District in Maharashtra against the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Padamsinha Patil for conspiring to eliminate him. Padamsinh Patil approached the High Court seeking anticipatory bail but on October 14, 2009, the Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court rejected the anticipatory bail application of Padamsinh Patil in connection with a complaint filed by Anna after observing that there is a prima facie evidence against him.
Padmasinh Patil appealed for an anticipatory bail in Supreme Court of India which the court rejected on November 06, 2009. On November 11, 2009 Padmasinh Patil surrendered before the sessions court in Latur as per a directive of the Supreme Court and was sent to judicial remand for 14 days. On December 16, 2009 Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court granted bail to him. As of August 16, 2011 the verdict is pending.
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