The Face of The Farmer in Distress: Who Was Gajendra Singh?

In the media storm that ensued after Gajendra’s suicide, an important question was left out: Who was he?

Updated
India
2 min read


<!--StartFragment-->Gajendra Singh at the Aam Admi Party rally moments before he&nbsp;committed suicide. (Photo: PTI)<!--EndFragment-->

While the political big wigs continue to hit out at each other over Gajendra Singh’s public suicide at AAP’s rally in Delhi, their political antics seem to have grabbed the full attention of the media and drowned out a very important question regarding the whole issue:

Who was Gajendra Singh? Was he a farmer in distress? What was the nature of his ‘distress’? Why did he try to kill himself? Could his tragic death have been an attention-seeking act gone horribly wrong?

The Farmer

An NDTV report says that Gajendra’s family is shell-shocked as they believe he was not the sort to commit suicide.

Locals from Gajendra’s village say that the 41 year old was a lively person.

He was full of life and was very active. He heard about the rally and said he would go because he wanted to draw attention to the suffering of farmers.

– Resident, Dausa Village

NDTV reports that his relatives said Gajendra’s farm had not been so badly damaged and he was not in dire financial crisis. In 17 bighas (around seven acres)  of land, he owned several trees of guava and aamla or gooseberry. But his most recent crop of wheat and mustard, had been damaged in unseasonal rain.

Most villagers describe him as a kind and generous person who was always ready to help, says the NDTV report.

He climbed the tree only to grab attention. Can you seriously believe a man would climb a tree in front of so many people and commit suicide? I can’t believe that not one person tried to save him.

– Resident, Dausa Village


His family says the letter that Gajendra threw down at the crowd was not a suicide note. “He just wanted help,” a relative said.

Politics

According to IBN-Khabbar, Gajendra was active politically. He first forayed into politics in 2003 when he attempted to contest the state assembly election on a BJP ticket. When he was not allowed to do so, he switched parties and contested on a Samajwadi party ticket against BJP leader Gajendra Singh Kalyanwat which he lost.

He contested the 2008, and 2013 assembly elections. Both attempts were unsuccessful.

After this he switched parties yet again, this time joining the Congress party. According to IBN-Khabbar, he was largely ignored there and recently, had been trying to get closer to the Aam Admi Party.

Turban Master

Gajendra was known for his Jaipuria turbans, according to IBN Khabbar and Hindustan Times. Apparently he knew how to tie 33 different styles and was so fast that he could tie 12 of them in under a minute. According to the Hindustan Times he used to supplement his income by tying turbans at hotels and had quite a reputation. In fact  he is known to have tied turbans on Bill Clinton, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Rajnath Singh, and Murli Manohar Joshi.

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