The extraordinary journey of an IIT graduate from a small town in Haryana who has gone from nowhere to the vital centre of Indian politics.
The Kejriwals lived on the outskirts of Hisar in a colony meant for employees of Jindal Strips where his father worked as an electrical engineer. Their house was a simple, cluttered quarter. The only vehicle the family owned was a scooter.
Kejriwal was raised as a religious child. Regular trips to church at school in Sonepat and Ghaziabad made a deep impact on him. At home, he heard discourses on Hindu moral teachings. He prayed in the morning, before he went to bed at night, and sometimes during the day if he found the time.
- As a teenager, he had trouble deciding which career to pursue: medicine or engineering. Eventually, he decided to go for engineering and set his eyes on entering the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).
- Joined IIT, Kharagpur, for degree in mechanical engineering
- 1989: Joined Tata Steel, posted at Jamshedpur. Took leave to study for civil services entrance
- 1992: Quit job. Spent time in Kolkata, at the Ramakrishna Mission in north-east India
- 1995: Joined Indian Revenue Service after clearing civils entrance in the first shot. In between, met Mother Teresa, worked with her
- 1999-2000: Took a two-year sabbatical on condition that upon resuming his work he wouldn’t resign for at least three years. He initiated movement Parivartan. Focused on assisting citizens in navigating income tax, electricity and food ration matters
- 2006: Won Ramon Magsaysay Award for helping enact RTI Act. Resigned from IRS. Donated Magsaysay award money as corpus to found NGO Public Cause Research Foundation
- Mr cool:-He’s known to be a demanding man to work with, more respected than feared. Colleagues say they’ve hardly seen him lose temper. He doesn’t take people to the task but when miffed, instead takes on the task himself. When annoyed, colleagues say he goes quiet and retreats into his office, shutting the door behind him.
- ‘Papa Mein hai dum’:-In an interview with a newsmagazine, Kejriwal’s 12-yr-old son Pulkit proudly said his dad was enough for all the opponents. Because of “papa main hai dum”. Daughter Harshita (17) is equally proud, their teachers and seniors are AAP followers. Kejriwal’s believes the way his son’s life has played out shows he has “God’s blessings”. Thus, “No one can harm my son.”
- First day lessons:-On the first day of his job in 1995 in the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), Kejriwal recalls what a senior official told him: the 27-year-old was advised how to make money at the start of one’s career and then “pretend to be an honest officer for the rest of his life”. A shocked Kejriwal said it impacted the shape his career took, from a small bureaucrat to activist to politician.
- Surprise treats:-Kejriwal is known to perk up the mood of his office-wallahs with impromptu treats of patties or ice cream for the entire staff. He takes time out to chat with people and doesn’t let phone calls break the conversation.
- Movie buff:-Though he has “hardly got any time” with his family the last year, Kejriwal said in an interview he liked to take his kids to watch films. He is a fan of Aamir Khan and admires his work and enjoys comedies as well.