Anna Hazare, byname of Kisan Baburao Hazare, the 73-year-old activist at the centre of the standoff between India’s government and civil society over the terms of an anti-corruption law, draws inspiration from a leading light of India’s spiritual renaissance in the late 19th century, Swami Vivekananda.
He was influenced in his search after accidentally coming across a book by Swami Vivekananda at a New Delhi railway station. “The book revealed to him that the ultimate motive of human life should be service to humanity. Striving for the betterment of common people is equivalent to offering a prayer to the God, he realized,”
At the age of 38, Mr Hazare took voluntary retirement from the army and returned to his native village. Over the next few decades, he gained wide acclaim in his home state and at the national level for transforming his once drought-prone, impoverished village to a prosperous “model village” by encouraging sustainable farming and rural life as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian Independence leader often referred to as Gandhiji.
“The dream of India as a strong nation will not be realised without self-reliant, self-sufficient villages, this can be achieved only through social commitment & involvement of the common man,”
He has termed the current civil society’s movement against corruption as “India’s second freedom struggle,” and has asked all Indians to participate. Critics say he is using anti-democratic methods of moral coercion to force his will on the elected government.
In the 1990s, the federal government awarded Mr Hazare with the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards, the nation’s third and fourth highest civilian awards respectively, for his social work.
Life Turning Facts…
Anna Hazare dropped out of the seventh grade in school due to poverty. He became a street fruit seller, till he joined the army as a driver after the Chinese attack of 1962. He is not part of the educated elite.
Several years ago, he formed the Bhrashtachar Virodhi Andolan (Anti-Corruption Movement) and has sent several politicians in Maharashtra to jail by “fasting unto death”. The Congress should have known that he would do the same this time too.
The reason why political parties or media does not support him?
He forced the member to sign an affidavit
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, who has begun his indefinite fast, said that he would not let any political party join him.
“Whoever joins the movement, signs affidavit which states, that they’ll neither join any political party or group nor will contest elections, ensure service to country, society and maintain good character. I’ll not let any political party or group come on this stage,” Hazare said.
The view of political parties…
- Supporters of UPA:-Their reasons are obvious. The Lokpal bill dispute.
- Marxists:-They believe that the major bloc of support for Anna comes from the middle and upper-middle classes of Indian society (which is largely true). In Marxist ideology, these are the Bourgeoisie, the oppressive/parasitic class, who live off the Proletariat, the working class. Marxists sympathize with movements they consider Proletarian and oppose those that they consider Bourgeoisie even though they might have the same goals.
- Pragmatists and Libertarians:-In this view, corruption is largely a problem caused by Big Government, which is likely to be exacerbated by adding an additional layer of bureaucracy – which is what the Lokpal is – no matter how well-intentioned the people in that bureaucracy might be.
Instead, they want administrative reforms that usher in transparency and a reduction in the size and discretionary power of Government.
The view of any democratic political party
They believe that this kind of change can be sustained only if it comes through the normal democratic process. At the end of the day, if corruption is not an electoral deal-breaker for a critical mass of the voting population – big enough to swing the results of elections – there is absolutely no incentive for the corrupt to clean up their act.