Once a sleepy village that followed routine chores associated with the life in rural Maharashtra, Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district has now emerged as a focal point of a movement that appears to be changing the conventional equations between the rulers and subjects. It is all thanks to Hazare, whose roots and presence here has propelled the place on the international map.
And for the curious visitors, a centre of attraction is ''Yadavbaba'' temple, which became a home and refuge for Anna Hazare, when he returned to Ralegan Siddhi 27 years ago, finishing his service in the army, dreaming of a new dawn of the social change of his vision, inspired by the philosophy of Swami Vivekanand.
"Yadavbaba was a saint, who came to Ralegan from the pilgrim centre of Alandi, situated on the banks of Indrayani, more than a century ago and took Samadhi here. The temple built to cherish his memory, became today's famous landmark, seen on television many times," says a villager.
He recalled that when Anna returned to the village after being discharged from a Gurgaon hospital on conclusion of his historic 12 day fast in support of a strong Lokpal bill last month, he first went to the Yadavbaba temple to pay his respects.
But things have changed dramatically after the Ramlila agitation for the villagers here.
Their beloved Anna, who is the ''presiding deity'' of Ralegan after ''Yadavbaba'', is now shifted to a new place--- Padmavati temple trust hostel-- for security reasons.Six armed security men keep vigil in front of a grilled gate, from where, Hazare emerges three times a day to interact with the crowds gathered outside including the visitors from all over the country.