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'My village like no other!'

Drought, poverty and unemployment drove villagers of Ralegan Siddhi to develop their's into a model one. Now Anna Hazare wants others to follow suit

Although the meeting between Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and the sarpanch (village headman) of activist Anna Hazare's village, Ralegan Siddhi, could not materialise, Rahul can now get an idea of developing a model village, like Ralegan Siddhi, through the newly-launched blog by Anna Hazare, where Hazare has shared his mantra of developing a model village. The meeting which did not materialise was supposed to talk about the issue of developing a model village then.



After the fall out
Returning to blogging a fortnight after he fell out with his former blogger, Anna Hazare shared the circumstances which led his villagers to develop his village as a model village. He invited industrialists with 'good character' to help developing 100 model villages, to fight corruption.

Emphasising that some business leaders had financially supported Mahatma Gandhi too, he said, "To create model villages, we will also have to involve such industrialists who are willing to serve the country and are of good character. I believe that curbing corruption and creating ideal villages will provide a new direction to the country. I strongly believe that if activists, who have experience in village development, provide the necessary guidance, it could help set the direction for the future of India," he said in a new post on annahazaresays.indiaagainstcorruption.org.

It may be recalled that Congress MP ET Kamath had visited Ralegan Siddhi earlier this year and he was impressed with the progress of the model village. During his visit, Kamath had told village sarpanch Jaisingrao Mapari about Rahul Gandhi's interest in rural development. But later, Mapari failed to meet Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

Ralegan Siddhi, in Ahmednagar district, about 280 km from Mumbai, was reeling under drought, poverty, debt, and unemployment till 1975, when Anna Hazare mobilised the human resources there and started a host of projects. When asked about the new blog and its subject, a member of Team Anna said it is an individual's choice to visit the blog.

New blog, old dream
In his new blog, Anna wrote in detail about his dream to empower the country's villages. "If we want proper development of the country, firstly we need to curb corruption. To achieve this, we are working for strong anti-corruption laws like the Jan Lokpal bill... To further tackle corruption, we need electoral reforms, right to reject, decentralisation of power, and along with that we also need to work on implementation of existing laws. Simultaneously, we also have to develop 100 model villages in different parts of India," Hazare said.

Hazare claimed he had received letters from more than 50 educated and committed people with sound social and national vision, who are willing to commit their lives to volunteer for this cause. "Many people, after fulfilling their family responsibilities, are offering to devote 12-15 days per month. Many people are ready to work in their own areas as volunteers. There are many young people who have not married till now and do not wish to get married. They say they are ready to devote their life for the nation and society," Hazare said.

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