In 1962, events in South East Asia meant that large-scale army recruitments were being undertaken. Despite not meeting the physical requirements, eighteen-year-old Anna was selected, as emergency recruitment was taking place. While in the army, he contemplated suicide owing to the tough life and the constant state of deprivation of his family and village. He even wrote a suicide note, but decided against this, as his sister’s wedding had to be fixed. A vehicle in which he was travelling was hit by a bomb, but he survived. This led him to dwell on the purpose and meaning of life and death.
In a book stall, at the New Delhi station, he came across a small booklet by Swami Vivekananda, titled, Call to the youth for nation building. He realised that saints sacrificed their own happiness for that of others, and that he needed to work towards ameliorating the suffering of the poor. He led the greatest anti-corruption fight in India, and today, he is one of the most respected leaders of India.
His name is Anna Hazare.
Source: “Mastering Essay & Answer Writing for UPSC Civil Services IAS/ IPS & State PSC Main Exam” by Dr Awdhesh Singh, available at