Very few social activists have captured the attention of Indians across the globe as Anna Hazare did during his "fast unto death" over the issue of the Lokpal Bill in New Delhi in April 2011. Hazare, a Gandhian by belief, outlook and practice, has become the face of India's fight against corruption.
During his fast over the Lokpal Bill, Hazare, a quintessential traditional Indian by looks and mannerism, managed to inspire and mobilize the support of even the ultra-modern Indians - Indians for whom the word "social" only means having a profile on social networking sites. The "Anna Hazare fast" can be described as the first real "social networking movement" in India.
Hazare, a former Army man, began his social activism from Ralegan Siddhi, a village in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra, where he successfully led a movement against alcoholism and made Ralegan Siddhi a "model village". Hazare's campaign was instrumental in the implementation of the Right to Information Act in Maharashtra, which is considered one of the best RTI Acts in India.
A Ramon Magsaysay award winner, Anna Hazare, like his idol, Mahatma Gandhi, has triggered a debate over the use of fast as a means of protest in India. By sheer commitment and simplicity, he has demonstrated that Gandhian principles are relevant even in the 21st-century India.
Going to jail fashionable for some: Anna Hazare