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By | November 2012
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If you’ve been following the news, you’re unlikely to have missed the passionate voice of Arvind Kejriwal, the 42-year-old Haryana-born activist, who is determined to tackle corruption and help change the way India is governed. An IIT-trained mechanical engineer, Kejriwal joined the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) in 1995 but resigned after five years there. While he was an Additional Commissioner of Income Tax in Delhi, Kejriwal quietly started Parivartan, an organization that has never been officially registered. It is run by a few young volunteers who have helped thousands of citizens get everyday benefits—like a ration card or an electricity connection—without paying bribes to government officials. Parivartan [which means change] is also spearheading research into the right to information (RTI) and governance issues. Kejriwal, a 2006 winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership, was also instrumental in campaigning to have the Central RTI Act passed. Kejriwal lives just outside of Delhi, with his wife Sunita of the IRS (she is a former colleague), and their two children with whom the busy activist sometimes wishes he could spend more time. When Reader’s Digest interviewed Kejriwal in Delhi, it was early March, a whole month before Anna Hazare’s momentous fast, when the model Jan Lokpal Bill—aimed essentially at empowering citizens and fighting corruption—became the kind of news that eclipsed even the start of cricket’s IPL-4. It was Kejriwal who, dejected with the long-delayed official Lokpal Bill, was instrumental in drafting the Jan Lokpal Bill, much of it deriving from his experience with Parivartan. Before going to press, we asked Kejriwal if he expected that kind of national, in fact global, response from Indians to something for which he’s been the little-known prime mover. “Not really,” he replied, “that’s why it was so encouraging.” Reader’s Digest: Your big fight has been against corruption. Isn’t it ironic that people in the news...

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