<span>A</span>s Delhi gears up for elections, the name of Arvind Kejriwal has become a household talking point. Whether one supports him or not, his political party, the Aam Aadmi Party, is expected to get between 20% and 46% of the vote (depending on the survey) this November. For an organization less than an year old, those are some exceedingly astounding numbers.
The success of the party has cast a great deal of attention upon its founder. A number of his accomplishments, such as his IIT-background, his stint in the Indian Revenue Service(IRS), have become staple in discussions about whether he has the political savvy and experience to actually affect “real change” in government.
However, a number of his achievements after IIT are still not well-known, and TheIITian believes that they are instrumental in fully understanding the complex political entity that is Kejriwal.
Consequently, we shine a brief spotlight on Kejriwal, and on his life and career after his graduation from IIT.
<li>Was a resident of the Nehru hall and graduated in 1989 from IIT Kharagpur.</li>
<li>Joined Tata Steel directly after graduation.</li>
<li>Quit Tata Steel in 1992 due to spiritual dissatisfaction, amongst a host of other reasons. Traveled the country for about 6 months, visiting a number of poor and disenfranchised areas.</li>
<li>Met Mother Teresa in Kolkata, and at her behest, worked at the with the Missionaries of Charity at the Kalighat ashram for two months. Spent many more months with such charities in Haryana, and other parts of the country.</li>
<li>Joined the IRS in 1992. His eventual wife, Sunita Kejriwal, also worked at the IRS. They got married in November 1994.Earlier the people were dependent on touts; now they were depending on us. The people themselves are not empowered, I felt.</li>
<li>The starting of Parivartan – a small group that tried to curb graft by helping people naviagete the hurdles of income tax, electricity and food ration matters without paying out bribes – was via a dinner conversation in 2000. Even though it helped many hundreds of people yearly, Kejriwal eventually began to feel that the organization provided another, though benevolent, crutch and did not actually empower people.</li>
<li>He worked upon the Central Right to Information Act, having seen it passed in many individual states such as Karnataka, Rajasthan, Delhi, and etc.</li>
<li>After years of study leave, and leave without pay, he finally resigned from the IRS in February 2006. This resignation was officially accepted in 2011!</li>
<li>In 2005, he was awarded the ‘Satyendra K. Dubey Memorial Award’ by IIT Kanpur for his campaign to bring transparency into Government.</li>
<li>In 2006, he was accorded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership and a $50,000 cash prize that he donated as seed money for the Public Cause Research Foundation. Kejriwal published “Swaraj” in 2012, a book that encapsulates many of the primary research areas he worked on with the institute.</li>
<li>That year, he was also the CNN-IBN, ‘Indian of the Year’ in Public Service.</li>
<li>In 2011, he sat with Anna Hazare in protests against corruption in government, and for the enactment of the Jan Lokpal Bill. Along with Anna, he was the NDTV “Indian of the Year.”</li>
<li>He formally launched the Aam Aadmi Party on the 26th of November, 2012.</li>
And the rest, as they say, is history.
A fascinating interview of Arvind Kejriwal by the readers digest: <a href=”http://www.readersdigest.co.in/Arvind-Kejriwal-Quest-for-Change” target=”_blank”>[Link]</a>