His real name is Kisan Baburao Hazare. He was awarded Padma Shri in 1990 and Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award by the Government of India, in 1992 for his efforts in establishing Ralegan Siddhi village as a model for others.

Hazare was drafted in the Indian Army in April 1960, where he initially worked as an army truck driver and was later attested as a soldier. He undertook army training at Aurangabad.

During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Hazare was posted at the border in the Khem Karan sector. He was the sole survivor of an enemy attack while he was driving a truck.

He had another escape in Nagaland, where one night, underground Naga rebels attacked his post and killed all the inmates. He had a miraculous escape as he had gone out to return nature’s call and hence turned out to be the lone survivor.

The experiences of wartime, coupled with the poverty from which he had come, affected him. He considered suicide at one point but turned instead to pondering the meaning of life and death.