Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Military service

In 1962, events in South Asia meant that large-scale army recruitments were being undertaken. Despite not meeting the physical requirements, 25-year-old Hazare was selected, as emergency recruitment was taking place in the Indian Army.[7] After training at Aurangabad in Maharashtra he started his career in the Indian Army as a driver in 1963.[8] During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Hazare was posted at the border in the Khem Karan sector. On 12 November 1965, Pakistan launched air attacks on Indian bases, and all of Hazare's comrades were killed; he was the only survivor of that convoy. It was a close save for Hazare as one bullet had passed by his head.[9] He was driving a truck.[6][10] This led him to dwell on the purpose and meaning of life and death. He came across a small booklet titled "Call to the youth for nation building" by Swami Vivekananda in a book stall at the New Delhi railway station.[11] He realized that saints sacrificed their own happiness for that of others, and that he needed to work towards ameliorating the sufferings of the poor. He started to spend his spare time reading the works of Vivekananda, Gandhi, and Vinoba Bhave.[12] During the mid-1970s, he again survived a road accident while driving.[13] It was at that particular moment that Hazare took an oath to dedicate his life to the service of humanity, at the age of 38.[9] In 1975, he left the army as soon as he become eligible for receiving pension.


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