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Can Anna Hazare uproot the rampant corruption?

The name of Anna Hazare is being widely discussed all over the country for the past few days. People of all classes and regions are supporting the fast-unto-death launched by the social activist and Gandhian, demanding introduction of the Jan Lok Pal bill which provides for the appointment of an ombudsman to deal with corruption.

Anna Hazare was born in 1940 in the Maharahtra state. Because his family was poverty-stricken, he could not study beyond seventh standard. He has joined the Indian Army as a driver and has participated in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. He was the only survivor in a border exchange of fire while driving a truck during the war. While in the army, Anna Hazare spent his spare time reading the books of Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Acharya Vinobabhave. He was inspired by these great men to become a social activist after he took voluntary retirement from the Army.

After retirement, Hazare came to his native Relegan Siddhi village in 1975 and transformed it into a role model by organizing the youth. He has set up an organization called ‘Tarun Mandal.’ He made the village alcohol-free by motivating the youth.  He is the harbinger of the watershed movement in the country. He has motivated the residents of the village into Shramdan to build canals, small scale check dams and percolation tanks for watershed development. His efforts solved the problem of scarcity of water in the village. Irrigation also was made possible through people’s own efforts. He was honored by the Union Government with Paddma Bhushan in the year 1992.

The crusade of Anna Hazare against corruption is not new. He fought against corruption in Maharashtra several times and six corrupt ministers and 400 corrupt officials had to quit as a result of his fight. However, results of such individual fights are showing only temporary results and the menace of corruption could not be totally eliminated either from politics of officialdom. Corruption has been raising its ugly head in one form or the other all the time. Corruption could not be totally uprooted, as there is no strong system to punish the corrupt and recover the ill-gotten public money. The result is that the corruption has further strengthened in the country and from tens of crores of rupees it has grown to hundreds of crores and lakhs of crores of rupees.

Hajare remained a bachelor as he wanted no hooks to hold him to the family life that might eventually make it necessary to accept a graft in some kind or the other. He has no bank balances, no positions. He leads a simple life and lives in a temple premises. Can such a simple person bring a change in this hardened system? Can he grapple with the corrupt political forces and win over them? This is the main topic of discussion all over the country now.

Every citizen is angry about the politicians and officials who are nibbling at the public money and robbing the wealth that would have otherwise improved the welfare of the society. However, every one is remaining a silent spectator, thinking that he could not uproot the massive structure of corruption single handed. The fast of Haare has gained nation-wide importance because he is one man who thought even a single person could bring out a change and fight against the system. Let us hope that the movement he has launched would transform into a massive tide and wash the corruption away and the Jan Lokpal bill would be a realty as he desired. Andhra is extending its whole-hearted support to Anna Hazare and his crusade against corruption and is hoping that the Jan Lok Pal Bill would soon materialize.

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