Anna Hazare: India’s Leading Graft-buster does it again!

Anna Hazare: Just Say NO!
This 71-year-old Gandhian is the new face of anti-corruption activism in India.

His name is Kisan Bapat Baburao Hazare, but he is popularly known as Anna Hazare. He is an Indian social activist who is giving voice to mass sentiment against pervasive corruption that has shocked Indian society in recent months.

On 5 April 2011, Anna Hazare started a Satyagraha, or a fast unto death, to pressurise the Government of India to enact a strong anti-corruption law that will establish a Lokpal (ombudsman) with the power to deal with corruption in public offices. The fast led to nationwide protests in support of Hazare. It ended four days laater, on 9 April 2011, with the government agreeing to all of his demands: it issued a gazette notification on formation of a joint committee headed by senior minister Pranab Mukherjee to draft an effective Lokpal Bill.

Anna Hazare has a long involvement in rural development, self reliance and anti-corruption work. In 1991, he launched the Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Aandolan (BVJA), or People’s Movement against Corruption.

For more information, I want to share what two Indian journalist friends have produced about this remarkable man.

Kalpana Sharma has written this profile for BBC Online, tracing the man’s progress and the emergence of a popular movement against corruption in India:
Anna Hazare: India’s pioneering social activist

As she notes: “The media attention has encouraged more middle class citizens to come out on the streets holding candles, carrying placards, shouting slogans, singing songs and even fasting in sympathy with Hazare. The numbers are modest but the buzz on social networking sites as well as media attention makes it appear larger.”

This is an extract from a half-hour documentary film that Pradip Saha made for the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) India in 2000, which looked at the nexus between corruption, environment and natural resource management in India. It ends with this segment on Anna mobilising the grassroots against this scourge.

Author: Nalaka Gunawardene

A science writer by training, I've worked as a journalist and communication specialist across Asia for 30+ years. During this time, I have variously been a news reporter, feature writer, radio presenter, TV quizmaster, documentary film producer, foreign correspondent and journalist trainer. I continue to juggle some of these roles, while also blogging and tweeting and column writing.

3 thoughts on “Anna Hazare: India’s Leading Graft-buster does it again!”

  1. What is the victory for.? Is India free from corruption from Tomorrow Why all these gimicks. It is only taking advantage of the very sensitive issue coruption before innocent mass. Since almostr all are affeted by this corruption all wanted to support without knowing what will be the result and outcome. It is mere waste of time

  2. @Kukkumol,
    What’s the alternative? All progress is incremental. All-or-nothing may sound very ideal, but it’s not a good strategy in real life. I’m glad Anna has raised the public profile of the issue, and has sustained public interest in it. In democracies — even imperfect ones we have in South Asia — our rulers are sensitive about public opinion. Who picks up the baton from Anna? That’s the most important question to me…

  3. anna hazare’s campaign may fail to stop the wave of corruption in
    india but his initiative would provide an inspiration for similar movements.
    ppl say that there were negative aspects of hazare’s movement.
    no such campaign in world made immediate success.I am sure that there would be more such movements which with time would evolve into more practical & perfect ones while correcting the ‘mistakes’ hazare did.
    There are so many activists in india who can take the batton from anna
    but unfortunately they dont get the attention anna gets .but the most important factor should be those movements should not be a product of any external influence but a one originating frm indian ppl.thank u.

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