Founder and President of Grow Sansthan, Rajesh is known by some in Jodhpur as a visionary leader, and by others as a madman philosopher. He grew up in Jodhpur as a Brahmin, but his personal journey has led him to commit to putting caste aside and going knee-deep in the dirt, left in defunct stepwells and bawris to clean them out for the greater public good. Rajesh was living in Mumbai to study computer science and play cricket for a professional team. The large-scale pollution in Mumbai solidified his beliefs that “nature is pious,” it deserves to be respected, and it is the duty of humans to protect it as caretakers of plants, animals, water and the natural landscape so he left Mumbai to return to Jodhpur.
Rajesh became conscious of the dichotomy between technological progress, and social and environmental progress – strides in technology have been profound, but don’t seem to be helping to reduce pollution or improve social inequalities. On one particular visit to a Jodhpur stepwell, he encountered a fish that had died from suffocating in a plastic bag. Rajesh thought, “we as citizens on earth are responsible for the death of this fish.” This experience prompted him to focus his work toward water resource restoration, and in 2012 establish a non-profit to do so – Grow Sansthan. For Rajesh, this work was closely tied to his spirituality. He saw this work as his duty, his god-given role to play.