The family of Gajendra Singh Kalyanwat, who
at the AAP rally on Wednesday, owns some 10 acres of land, including a gooseberry orchard and a teak plantation — but the man’s heart was not in farming.
Family members and friends remembered the 43-year-old, father-of-three as politically ambitious, having unsuccessfully tried twice – in 2008 and 2013 -- to fight the assembly elections as a Samajwadi Party candidate. After that, he wanted to join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
“He left the village 3-4 days back saying he was going to try to meet Kejriwal,” said Amit Singh Kalyanwat, Gajendra’s nephew. “He said he would stay in Delhi with his brother who is a constable of RAC there.”
An HT correspondent visiting Gajendra’s village, about 120 km east of Jaipur, was stopped from reaching his house. Neighbours said his ageing father and wife had not been told about the death as there was a wedding in the extended family. An uncle had left for Delhi to receive Gajendra’s body which was expected back in the village on Thursday morning.
A purported suicide note left by Gajendra said he had lost his crop in last month’s untimely rain and hailstorm. But local officials said crop loss in the Baswa tehsil, under which falls Gajendra’s village, had been between 20-25%, far less than the damage in many other parts of Rajasthan.
“We have sent the tehsildar to assess the condition of the crop of Gajendra’s family,” said Krishna Chandra Sharma, the officiating district collector of Dausa.
Situated on the edge of this Rajput-dominated village, Gajendra’s single-storey, pucca house is fairly large. In front of it sprawled the family farmstead.
On one side of the farm, is a gooseberry orchard, on the other a plantation of teak. In between, is a patch of wheat field that completed a picture of a well-to-do farming household.
The eldest of three brothers, Gajendra studied up to class 12. He married early. His eldest child is a daughter studying in class 12; his two other boys are aged 7 and 10 – none of them know that their father is dead.
After his failed forays into politics, Gajendra tried his hand at making a living out of tying colourful, Rajasthani turbans on tourists at hotels.
“He was very fast with tying the turban. He used to make some money from it,” said Ramesh Bairwa, his childhood friend, who showed photographs of Gajendra tying turbans at hotels. One picture showed him tying a turban on home minister Rajnath Singh.
In 2010, Gajendra – a well-built man with a flourishing beard and an ornate turban -- won the Mr. Desert title, a Rajasthani cultural pageant.