Ralegan Siddhi, Anna Hazare’s home village was helplessly suffering from severe adversities like poverty, deprivation and neglect stepped up by a fragile ecosystem and poor environment. The village received only 400 to 500 mm of annual rainfall and there were no weirs to retain rainwater. The tankers that supplied water were the only source of water for the villagers. Lack of water affected agriculture and the people had to depend on the neighbouring villages for food grains.
Hazare, taking inspiration from the water management project of Vilasrao Salunke, implemented it in Ralegan Siddhi, educated the people about the need of water conservation and helped them to implement the project successfully by introducing 48 Nala Bunding works, contour trenches, staggered trenches, gully plugs, meadows development etc. and also achieved forestation of 500 hectares of land. Anna Hazare, along with the villagers constructed five RCC weirs and 16 Gabion Weirs. He implemented water shed development program in Ralegan to increase the ground water level. Thus Anna Hazare led the village from front to fight the adversities and made it a model village. Due to his constant and deliberate efforts along with the youngsters Anna Hazare managed to uproot alcoholism from his village and formed and Tarun Mandal or Youth Association for this purpose. As a solution for the food insecurity, Anna Hazare started a Grain Bank in his village in the year 1980, which was aimed to provide grain to needy farmers who lost their yield through drought or crop failure. The grains were collected from rich farmers and lent to poor farmers who, on getting a profit should return it to the bank. As a secondary source of income, Anna Hazare promoted milk production in his village. He promoted cross-breed cattle that yield more milk and also formed a milk society to co-ordinate the collection and sales of the milk. Under the leadership of Anna Hazare, the village which produced only about 100 litres of milk before 1975 started producing more than 2,500 litres of milk per day. With the surplus of the funds the society purchased a truck and thresher. The mini-truck is used to take milk from the village and bring vegetables and other things to the village directly from the market, thus avoiding the interference of intermediates. The thresher is rented out during harvest season.
Anna Hazare has contributed to the education of the villagers as well. He, by joining hands with the youngsters of the village, founded a pre-school in 1976 and also a high-school in 1979. He formed a charitable trust called Sant Yadavbaba Shikshan Prasarak Mandal and this trust and it received a grant of Rs.400000 from National Rural Education Programme of the Government.
Anna Hazare has also contributed to the elimination of untouchability which was a common practice among the villagers. He also advocated for the implementation of Gram Sabhas as the chief democratic institution for collective decision making regarding the development projects of villages. Though the government was not in favour of this, they had to enact it due to the public pressure generated by Anna Hazare through his campaigns done between 1998 and 2006 for amending the Gram Sabha Act.
Disturbed by the growing corruption in India, anna Hazare launched an Anti-Curreption Movenent called Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Aandolan (BVJA) in the year 1991. 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. In the same year he launched another protest against the collusion between some forest officials and timber merchants and as an impact of this protest, 40 officers were suspended.
Anna Hazare protested against the corruption regarding the purchase of power looms by the Vasantrao Naik Bhathya Vimukt Jamati Vikas Manch and also by the Mahatma Phule Magasvargiya Vikas Mandal, which were directly controlled by Babanrao Gholap, the Social Welfare minister in Maharashtra government. His complaints submitted with well-furnished documentary evidence, were forwarded to then Maharashtra Governor P. C. Alexander. As a result of the defamation suit filed by the minister, Anna Hazare was sentenced to serve three-months of imprisonment but, was released soon owing to strong public protest. But this didn’t stop Anna Hazare from protesting against Corruption. He drafted a letter to then Chief Minister Manohar Joshi demanding Gholap’s removal and as a result of all these protest, Gholap resigned from his role as a minister of Social Welfare in 1999.
In 2003, Anna Hazare raised some corruption allegations against against four NCP ministers in the Congress-NCP government. He started to fast unto death on 9th of August 2003 and ended it on 17th of August 2003 as then chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde formed a commission headed by the retired justice P. B. Sawant to probe his allegations. As per the P. B. Sawant commission report submitted on 23rd February 2005 three ministers namely Sureshdada Jain, Nawab Malik, and Padmasinh Patil were found guilty while the forth minister, Vijaykumar Gavit was freed from charges. This led to the resignation of Suresh Jain and Nawab Malik resigned from the cabinet 2005.
In the year 2000, Anna Hazare launched a Movement that forced the Maharashtra state government to enact the Right to Information Act. Based on this act, the Union government also enacted the same in the year 2005. Anna Hazare fought for enactment of another Act “Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act” that ensures a government servant clears a file within a specified time and also that transfers must take place only after three years.
Owing to the massive corruption allegations against the Ministers in the Union Ministry of India, Anna Hazare demanded for a strong Lokpal Bill but, his demands were rejected by the Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh. He then launched a Satyagraha movement on April 2011 at Delhi for passing a stronger anti-corruption Lokpal (ombudsman) bill in the Indian Parliament, based on the Jan Lokpal Bill (People's Ombudsman Bill) drafted by N. Santosh Hegde (former justice of the Supreme Court of India and Lokayukta of Karnataka), Prashant Bhushan (a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court) and Arvind Kejriwal (social activist) along with members of the “India Against Corruption” movement. This draft bill incorporated more stringent and wider power to the Lokpal (Ombudsman) than the draft Lokpal bill prepared by the government in 2010. His fast grabbed the attention of the whole country and media. People from all over the country supported Anna Hazare in this movement. He ended his hunger strike on 8th of April 2011 as the Government of India accepted all demands of the movement.
He has got many awards whose collective value is above 25 lakhs. He had donated the entire amount to Swami Vivekananda Kritadnyata Nidhi and is being utilize to carry out Mass marriages every year.
Indira Priyadarshini Vrikshamitra Award from the Government of India, 1986
Krishi Bhushana Award from the Government of Maharashtra, 1989
Padmashri Award from the Government of India, 1990
Padmabhushan Award from the Government of India, 1992
Shiromani Award, 1996
MAhaver Award 1997
Care international Award from a relief agency called CARE, 1998
Integrity Award from Transparency International, 2003
Honorary Doctorate from Gandhigram Rural University, 2005
Jit Gill Memorial Award for Outstanding Public Service from World Bank, 2008
1940: Born in Bhingar, Maharashtra
1962: Joined Indian Army As a Driver
1965: Participated in Indo-Pak War
1976: Anna Hazare along with the Younsters of Ralegan Village started a per-school in the village
1978: Resigned from Army
1979: They started a high-school
1979: Sant Yadavbaba Shikshan Prasarak Mandal Cahritabl etrust was registered in Ralegan
1980: He started A grain bank in his village
1991: Launched Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Aandolan (BVJA, an Anti-curreption movement.
2003: Protest against corruption of NCP ministers