Saturday, August 20, 2011

Anna Hazare Of India - Serving The Good

 Anna Hazare
This story of Anna Hazare of India was given very little coverage in the press in Sweden so I thought I would include some information on him and his fight against political corruption in India.  This is not to point a finger at India, God only knows that all the Nations in our world are pretty much corrupt from top to bottom.  It appears to be a human tendency of the ones doing wrong or expressing unethical behaviours to point the finger away from themselves and punish those who dare to take the high road and speak in a truthful and honorable manner.  Many a good and couragous man or woman have been discredited, jailed or murdered due to their exposing the reality of our politicain and corporate institutions.

Here in Sweden, a friend of mine published e-mails from high level politicians, their academic and scientist errand boys and girls and got her IP address blocked so she could no longer access her blog.  Another young man who was exposing the corruption of Ministers and Politicians had his blog shut down.  In a small Township in my County in Sweden, some men on a social forum called Flashback, talked about politicians who allowed child abuse by their inaction and the politicians immedately took action against them to silence their voices.  It's funny to me how when there is a serious problem within community that is not being handled by authorities, that the excuses begin and it's always a long and democractic process of debate and discussion to go through first before taking action, but when a politician gets caught with their pants down, then censorship is immediate.  Ponder on this awhile.

Now, I took this information directly from a blog from India.  This blogger has been giving a day by day account of the news around the arrest od Anna and some of his followers.  The entry that I have copied is some background information on who this person is that I have put in the catagory of what I call a Server Of The Good.

Short Biography of Anna Hazare – Story of Army Driver becoming the Father of Nation Bigger than Bharat Ratna

Short Biography of Anna Hazare – Story of Army Driver becoming
the Father of Nation Bigger than Bharat Ratna

Name - Kisan Bapat Baburao Hazare known as Anna Hazare

Birth date - 15 January 1940

Anna Hazare was born in Bhingar village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra state in western India to Baburao Hazare and Laxmi Bai, an unskilled labourer family He was raised by his childless aunt in Mumbai but could not continue beyond VII standard and had to quit midway due to problems.

He has two sisters and he is unmarried.

Anna Hazare started his career as a driver in the Indian Army.
During his 15-year tenure as a soldier, he was posted to several states like Sikkim, Bhutan, Jammu-Kashmir, Assam, Mizoram, Leh and Ladakh and braved challenging weathers.

Anna was greatly influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s teachings.

In the year 1965, Pakistan attacked India and at that time, Hazare was posted at the Khemkaran border. On November 12, 1965, Pakistan launched air attacks on Indian base and all of Hazare’s comrades became martyrs

In 1978, he took voluntary retirement from the 9th Maratha Battalion

After serving 15 Years in Army Anna took the voluntary retirement and returned to his native place in Ralegan Siddhi, in the Parner tehsil of Ahmednagar district.

Ralegan Siddhi falls in the drought-prone area with a mere 400 to 500 mm of annual rainfall.  There were no weirs to retain rainwater.  During the month of April and May, water tankers were the only means of drinking water.  Almost 80 per cent of the villagers were dependent on other villages for food grains. Residents used to walk for more than four to six kilometers in search of work.

Hazare came across the work of one Vilasrao Salunke, a resident of Saswad near Pune who had started a novel project of water management through watershed development in a joint venture with the Gram Panchyat. Hazare visited the project and decided to implement it in Ralegan Siddhi.

He steered the villagers to begin working towards water conservation. At the outset, they completed 48 Nala Bunding work, contour trenches, staggered trenches, gully plugs, meadows development and of forestation of 500 hectares of land. Thereafter, they constructed five RCC weirs and 16 Gabion Weirs.  This resulted in increase in the ground water level.

Hazare’s Ralegan Siddhi became the first role model of an ideal village from the worst village to an ideal village.

Anna rightly thought that Development is marred by corruption and started a new venture in 1991 called Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Aandolan (BVJA) or public movement against corruption. It was found that some 42 forest officers had duped the state government for crores of rupees through corruption in confederacy.
Hazare submitted the evidences to the government but the latter was reluctant to take action against all these officers as one of the ministers of the ruling party was involved in the scam.

A distressed Hazare returned the Padmashree Award to the President of India and also returned the Vriksha Mitra Award given by then prime minister of India Rajiv Gandhi.

He further went on an indefinite hunger strike in Alandi on the same issue. Finally, the government woke up and took action against the criminal and corrupt officers as well as six of the ministers were forced to resign and more than 400 officers from different government offices were sent back to home.

In 1995 Shiv Sena-BJP government came to power in the state.   Hazare raised the issue of alleged massive land purchase by Gholap's wife Shashikala in Nashik between April to September.

In 1996, he forwarded the available documentary evidences in support of his allegations to then Maharashtra Governor P. C. Alexander.

On 4 November 1997, Gholap filed a defamation suit against Hazare for accusing him of corruption.

On 9 September 1998, Anna Hazare was imprisoned in the Yerawada Jail after being sentenced to simple imprisonment for three months by the Mumbai Metropolitan Court all political parties, every one from Maharashtra except the BJP and the Shiv Sena came in support of him.  Later due to public protest, outcry the Government of Maharashtra ordered his release from the jail.

The state government has opened cooperative societies, credit societies & urban banks everywhere in states.
However, the directors of such societies do the corruption and failed to pay back the basic amount to the members of the societies. Thus poor people get cheated when Anna saw this he again began his agitation against this.

Hazare agitated for over eight months. The result was that more than Rs 125 crore was recovered from defaulters and the members of such societies heaved a sigh of relief.  Recovery of around Rs. 400 crores is in the pipeline.  After this Anna started to fight for the Right to information act.  Government ignored Anna.
In 1997 Anna agitated in Azad Maidan in Mumbai to create mass public awareness about RTI amongst the youth.  Anna started to travel across state.

Government promised Anna they will pass RTI act but in reality they never did it.  For this Anna agitated ten times for this law.

When Anna saw that Government is not willing to pass this law Anna went on an indefinite hunger strike at Azad Maidan in the last week of July 2003.

After 12 days of Hunger strike in Azad Maidan the President of India signed the draft of the Right to Information Act and ordered the state government to implement it with effect from 2002. The same draft was considered as the base document for the making of the National Right to Information Act-2005.

In 2003 Anna Hazare raised corruption charges against 4 ministers of the Congress-NCP government
Government ignored him. Then Anna started his fast unto death agitation on 9 August 2003.
He ended his fast on 17 August 2003 after then chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde formed a one man commission, headed by the retired justice P. B. Sawant to probe his charges. The P. B. Sawant commission report was submitted on 23 February 2005, indicted Suresh Jain, Nawab Malik and Padmasinh Patil.
Suresh Jain and Nawab Malik resigned from the cabinet in March 2005.

Jan Lokpal Bill –
Here is the link to the orginal blog entry and more information on hows events are developing in this act of discrediting Mr. Anna Hazare:

Here is the latest development in this case of silencing a voice of freedom that was published today:

Update:  I received this link for an Indian by the name of Mohan and I will share it here.  It would be nice to see posters like this in all nations.  That would be a wake up call to many citizens.  Sweden could certainly fill up a huge poster board.


Anonymous said...

From Dinesh Babu Sukumar, which I had permission to cut & paste from another social forum on the net.

Just as you mentioned that corruption is a part of every country today, it was always a part of Indian history, that every one knew about but said nothing against...since there is a financial divide in our country (we have very rich and very poor) so the bribing system never really bothered most of the people who lived above the rich was just a way to avoid hassles and queues and ordinary traffic voilations and rules in general...(this happens even today) but with the increasing number of rich, and the increasing inflation, and the 'establishment' of organised corruption, it just became too much for the ordinary rule abiding or poor man to take...

the mahathma gandhi dude of a long time back, (cheers to him) always spoke of a non voilent approach to illogical authority...if you dont give them anything but non-cooperation, they have nothing to take from you...and he also did his ever so powerful fasting bit, where his supporters went mad and got agitated...this hazare dude's doin the same kinda thing...people have referred to him as the gandhi 2.0, only this time its against corruption...

the first time he fasted against corruption, some people took notice and revised a small bill that proposed some new changes but was very inefficient...and this time its massive, with lots of help from facebook bringing the people together...there are anti corruption marches all over the globe (lets face it, us indians are everywhere) this time its going crazy, the people have taken it serious this time...the gov put him in jail even before he got a chance to start any kind of silent protest...yet again, people went mad...and later, the man proved that he got the balls by refusing to come outta jail and said that it don matter where he was fasting...inspite of all this, the gov just humored his protest by imposing rules on how long (not more than 15 days), what he can and cant protest about...this has made even many politicians angry, they are like, lets atleast give them a chance to say what they are trying to say...

the first time around, even i was apprehensive about this, because corruption has become a huge part of how things are run today in india...and i was always under the impression that it can never improve...but, this time, there is a lot happening...i'm taken aback example, bribing the traffic cops is a very normal thing back home in Chennai, Tamil nadu where i'm from...a fee of 50 rs (thats 0.7 pound) is considered a normal fee for getting back on the road after getting stopped by the cops for something ridiculous (funny enough, getting caught speeding without a licence demands a similar fee for going scott free)...but yesterday, my friend posted on fb that the cops let him go after he mentioned anna hazare's thats def something new...

i'm sure that there are many things wrong about the stuff i said about the political situation becaue i'm not into politics and have lived outside India, pretty much my whole life...but this anna hazare guy got a lot of the indian's (home and abroad) attention and it seems like some positive change maybe finally happening for the betterment of my full support from all of us...even here in london, during the Indian independance day, there was a hazare march towards the indian embassy...

“Persons in power should be very careful of how they deal with a man who cares nothing for sensual pleasure, nothing for riches, nothing for comfort or praise or promotion, but is simply determined to do what he believes to be right. He is a dangerous and uncomfortable enemy, because his body, which you can always conquer, gives you so little purchase upon his soul.”
-Gilbert Murray

Stranger in a Strange Land said...

now, my comment to Dinesh from that same social forum:

Hello Dinesh:

Thank you so much for your comment. It's not often someone gives such a thoughtful, open and intelligent comment on social forums.

Can I cut & paste & put in the comment section of my blog? I will only do this with your permission.

Thanks so much and take care,
ps: Nothing brings more fear to the hearts of the corrupt than a free man of principle. They cannot be controled and this fits outside the political game, since politicians by their very nature are corruptable and this is why they are chosen to be the servents of a few of wealth who stay in the background and pull the strings.

Pam B said...

Thanks, Mike, for posting this. It's so easy to believe that nearly everyone is corrupt, but there are 'Workers of the Good,' as you call them, and we need to read more about them. It is easy to admire such a special and courageous man.

Christopher Dos Santos said...

Excellent post thanks for sharing Mike.

In Lak' ech..

Aragorn said...

@Anon: Liked the quote which you have shared in your comment.

@Mike: Glad to see you sharing and supporting an initiative happening in India. Guess, i can share some of my personal views on this being a resident of the place where this whole incident is happening.

I agree that whatever has been happening here to evict Corruption has been nothing but mind blowing. No-one, not even Anna Hazare, the Politicians would have imagined the kind of support which has galvanized against this protest against corruption. while, this is certainly something to sit and take note, I wonder to what extent this would really result in weeding out corruption. Though, there is no doubt on the intentions of Anna Hazare, the truth i feel is that this movement isnt enough to stop corruption, just for the simple reason that Corruption is more about how an individual chooses to act. Irrespective of as many policy creation, Corruption cant be eradicated until a person decides to stop practicing it himself, which believe me happens quite a lot in day-to-day affairs. So, its quite a high task which lies before us. The real test of this 'new movement' will come, if the momentum goes on and everyone decides to practice in their own life too.

All said, whats happening now is nothing short of a miracle, when the whole country has united in support of a common cause. Hopefully, something good should come out of it.



Stranger in a Strange Land said...

Hello Chris, Pam, & PS:

Thank you are so much for your comments.

This issue of corruption needs to be looked at not only by all Nations but honestly by all inhabitants of our planet.

All have a responisibily for allowing these weaknesses and community destroying behaviors to flourish and grow with ourselves and our communities. It is a true epidemic.

Kind regards to all,

Softech Guru said...

I have learned several information abt Anna Hajare and our Govt.