Gajendra Singh, who tragically took his life on Wednesday at the farmer rally organised by Aam Aadmi Party at Jantar Mantar, was a master at tying turbans, and had even wrapped the Rajasthani pagdi for then-US President Bill Clinton when he had visited in the year 2000. Singh was known to have tied the traditional headgear for other political leaders and celebrities including former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Union minister Rajnath Singh, reported The Times of India.
The Dausa native even unsuccessfully contested in the state elections in 2003 for Samajwadi Party. Eldest of three brothers, he looked after the family's 17 bigha land in Jhamwara village. He was the most educated member of his family with his class 10 school certificate.
Singh had reportedly lost a part of his mustard crop, and was upset that the local patwari's (government record keeper's) estimate of the damage to his crops differed widely from Singh's. "He was upset with the Patwari's office which had shown just 20 percent of his crop as damaged against his own estimate of 60 percent," his neighbour Arjun Singh told TOI.
The 40-year-old farmer is survived by his wife and three children. He had left home for Jaipur the previous weekend, and had last spoken to his sister on the fateful morning of his suicide, informing her of the farmer rally in the capital.
According to reports, he had only climbed the tree after he was provoked by others at the rally. Video footage has even revealed that people helped him climbing the tree and even handed him a broom.
There were others too who climbed the tree with him, sitting on different branches even as others at the rally took their photographs, Hindustan Times reported. According to a tea seller in the vicinity, this went on for about an hour, and Singh stayed where he was even as the others left at the beginning of Kumar Vishwas' speech.
While it is as yet unclear if the passersby knew of his intention to commit suicide, some people have been recorded applauding him before he tied a towel to the tree to use as a noose.
One eyewitness even suggested he could have slipped, instead of wilfully hanging himself. TOI reported that Mohammad Shahid, a resident of Naraina, one of the persons who caught Singh as he fell, said Singh had balanced himself on a very narrow branch and could have easily slipped by mistake.
However, a 10-line note he left behind suggests that the suicide could have been premeditated, where he said that he had been thrown out of home after he lost his harvest. His distress was evident in the hastily scribbled letter he wrote minutes before his death, where he said that he didn't know how to feed his children as he had no money. He had apparently tried to get the attention of others before he hanged himself. The Indian Express quoted an eyewitness saying, “He seemed to want to draw attention to himself. But nobody seemed interested. Even as he tied a towel around his neck, he continued to shout, but he was so high that we could barely hear him."
His death was a result of asphyxia and a fracture in the neck, according to preliminary results of the postmortem report.