Almost 10 years ago, Arvind Kejriwal, who is now known as the CM of Delhi, was not known to many. 

He came into prominence around 2011 when he joined forces with activist Anna Hazare to introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill (an anti-corruption authority or body of ombudsman who represents the public interest).

But, let me ask you, how much do you really know about Arvind Kejriwal apart from his signature muffler look that he is often seen in during his campaigns? Well, let’s take you through his interesting journey, before and after he entered politics.

Kejriwal was born to Gita Devi and Govind Ram in Bara Mohalla, Hisar, Haryana on 16th August 1968. 

His grandparents named him Krishna but now, 52 years later, the world knows him as Arvind Kejriwal, the current Chief Minister of Delhi.

Kejriwal belonged to an upper-middle class family who believed in the power of education. His father, Govind Ram himself was an engineer who graduated from the Birla Insitute of Technology, Mesra. 

As a young boy, Kejriwal also spent most of his childhood in Sonipat, Ghaziabad and Hisar. He was sent to Campus School in Hisar and to the Christian missionary Holy Child School in Sonipat.

Later, in 1985, he took the IIT-JEE exam and scored an AIR (All India Rank) of 563 which was quite impressive. He took admission in IIT Kharagpur where he studied Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, he joined Tata Steel in 1989 and was posted in Jamshedpur for sometime.

From the very beginning, Arvind was a bright child who enjoyed studying. After resigning from Tata Steel in 1992, he spent time studying for the Civil Services Examination. He also spent some time in Kolkata where he was lucky enough to meet Mother Teresa.

During that time, he also volunteered with The Missionaries of Charity and at the Ramakrishna Mission in North-East India and at Nehru Yuva Kendra.

After successfully passing the Civil Services Exam, Kejriwal joined the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) as an Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax in 1995. 

And, while working as an income tax officer, in 1999, he also founded Parivartan, an NGO aiming to assist the citizens in electricity, income tax and food ration-related matters.

Parivartan, the NGO was responsible for exposing PDS scam in which ration shop dealers were transferring subsidised foodgrains in collusion with civic officials. 

In 2004, Parivartan used RTI applications to access communication between government agencies and the World Bank, regarding a project for privatisation of water supply which led to a huge uproar.

Kejriwal, along with other activists questioned the expenditure on the project which ultimately resulted in its stalling, all thanks to Parivartan’s activism. 

Another campaign by Parivartan resulted in a court order that required private schools to admit more than 700 poor kids without fee. So, by the looks of it, Kejriwal was actively participating in social issues to help the poor.

Amongst social activists like Anna Hazare, Aruna Roy and Shekhar Singh he was also recognised as an important contributor to the campaign for a national-level RTI which was enacted in 2005. In an interview he said

Our hopes rose when Right to Information (RTI) came. But later I felt the RTI was an incomplete tool. What can we do even if get the information if no one gets sent to jail? We felt there is a need to change the way politics is done in our country.

After working as a Joint Commissioner in the Income Tax department for nearly more than five years, he resigned from his job in 2006. And that’s when he was honoured with the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership, for his involvement with Parivartan.

But, his journey had just begun. In 2010, Kejriwal protested against corruption in the Commonwealth Games and argued that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) was powerless when it came to taking action against the guilty, while CBI was incapable of launching an unbiased investigation against the ministers who controlled it.

In 2011, he joined forces with several other activists, including Anna Hazare and Kiran Bedi, to form the India Against Corruption (IAC) group. The IAC demanded enactment of the Jan Lokpal Bill, which would result in a strong ombudsman. And, that’s how the Jan Lokpal movement was started.

Sometime in 2012, he also wrote a book called ‘Swaraj’ which discusses his views on corruption and the state of the Indian democracy. The state of corruption in the country by top government officials was something Kejriwal was not pleased to see. That’s when he decided to form the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) and the rest, as they say, is history in the making.

AAP was formally launched on 26th November 2012 and it came into existence after Kejriwal decided to make India Against Corruption movement a political issue since he had been demanding a Jan Lokpal Bill since 2011.

His party made its electoral debut in the 2013 Delhi Legislative Assembly election, where it emerged as the second-largest party, winning 28 of the 70 seats. With no party being able to obtain clear majority, AAP formed a minority government with conditional support from the Indian National Congress.

But, he resigned from his position as the CM after failing to table the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi Assembly on 14th February 2014.  In April 2014 he said that he had made a mistake by resigning without giving any explanation and for disappointing the public at large. 

This could have been the end of his political journey but the people of Delhi re-elected him for the second time in 2015 after his party managed to win 67 of the 70 constituencies in the capital.

Since then, his party has worked to improve the education, health, water and sanitation facilities in Delhi. Under his governance, the state of government schools in Delhi has improved significantly. 

Water, electricity and sanitation problems have also been tackled by his government diligently in the densely populated city.

His journey into politics has definitely changed the narrative of Indian politics and politicians. Simply dressed with a calm attitude and a hard-working visionary, that’s Mr Arvind Kejriwal for you. 

Yet again in the 2020 Delhi Elections, AAP  emerged victorious by winning 62 seats out of 70. This is the third time that Kejriwal and his party has been voted into power in the capital.