Lokendra Singh Kalvi (1955-2023) was an Indian politician and activist who founded the Shri Rajput Karni Sena (SRKS), a Rajasthan-based organisation working for the welfare and rights of the Rajput community. He is the son of Kalyan Singh Kalvi, a politician and member of the Janata Dal party. Lokendra Singh was also associated with various political parties, including the Indian National Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party. He came into the national spotlight for spearheading the protests against the making and release of the Indian historical drama film Padmaavat (2018). On 14 March 2023, he died due to a heart attack in Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Lokendra Singh Kalvi was born in 1955 (age 68 years; at the time of death), and he hails from Kalvi, Nagaur district, Rajasthan. He attended Mayo College and the Government College in Ajmer. Hindustan Times He was a national-level basketball player.
Height (approx.): 6′ 2″
Hindustan Times Weight: 120 kg
Hair Colour: Grey
Eye Colour: Light Brown
Family & Caste
He belongs to a Hindu Rajput family. Hindustan Times
Parents & Siblings
His father, Kalyan Singh Kalvi, was Agriculture Minister in the Government of Rajasthan between 1993 and 1998, the period when Bhairon Singh Shekhawat served as the CM of the state. Later, Kalyan Singh became the Minister of Energy (1990 – 1991) in the Chandra Shekhar-led government. His mother’s name is Lad Kanwar.
Wife & Children
Lokendra Singh Kalvi is married and has two sons, Bhavani Kalvi and Pratap Kalvi. Bhavani Kalvi is a professional polo player.
He follows Hinduism. He worships Karni Mata, a Hindu goddess who is believed to be an incarnation of Jagadamba. She is primarily preached in the royal Rajput households.
In 1996, Lokendra Singh Kalvi contested and lost the Nagaur Lok Sabha seat on the party ticket of the Samata Party. In 1998, he contested and lost the Barmer Lok Sabha seat on BJP’s ticket. Ahead of the 2003 Rajasthan legislative assembly elections, he formed the Social Justice Front or Samajik Nyaya Manch, a body of Rajputs and Brahmins to demand reservation for economically backward upper castes. The party was led by the veteran Rajput politician of the state Devi Singh Bhati. The result was a rout– out of the 60 candidates the party had put up all over in Rajasthan, only one won a seat. It was Bhati himself who had secured the Kolayat Assembly seat in Bikaner. Soon, the duo fell out and Kalvi founded the Karni Sena in 2006. Kalvi began his association with INC ahead of the 2008 Rajasthan Assembly elections. Kalvi-led Karni Sena offered to lend their support to INC on the condition that the party would give a specified number of tickets to Rajput candidates. Reportedly, he also sought a Congress ticket to contest the 2009 general elections, but he never got one. In 2010, he joined the INC and also formed his splinter faction Shri Rajput Karni Sena (SRKS). Ahead of the 2014 general elections, he joined the Bahujan Samaj Party, but he did not contest the elections.
The origin of the Karni Sena can be traced back to 2005 when the Rajput leaders Lokendra Singh Kalvi and Tarun Pratap Singh Yaduvanshi attempted to mobilise the Rajput community. However, the organisation was formally formed on 23 September 2006 in Jhotwara, a suburban area of Jaipur, with the central aim of demanding caste-based reservation for Rajputs in government jobs and education. Additionally, it worked towards ending the alleged “sidelining of Rajput figures in textbooks” and promoting the election of Rajput legislators in the government. Ajeet Singh Mamdoli was appointed as the first president of the organisation. Differences between Kalvi and Mamdoli led Kalvi to leave the organisation and form his own Shri Rajput Karni Sena (SRKS) in 2010. Kalvi appointed Sukhdev Singh Gogamedi as the president of his faction. In 2015, Gogamedi was expelled over criminal charges following which he floated his own faction, Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena. Kalvi then appointed Mahipal Singh Makrana as the state president of his faction. In 2017, SRKS launched a protest against Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s film Padmaavat (2018), alleging that it hurts the Rajput sentiments by distorting history regarding the 14th century Chittor queen Padmini.
Opposing the release of the film Jodhaa Akbar (2008)
In 2008, Kalvi-Karni Sena protested the release of Ashutosh Gowariker’s historical film Jodhaa Akbar, featuring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. Karni Sena cited that none of Mughal emperor Akbar’s 34 wives was named Jodhabai. Kalvi claimed that Akbar married Karkbai alias Heer Kumar, the elder daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amer in Fatehpur Sikri on 6 February 1562. Akbar’s son Prince Salim was born in 1569. According to Karni Sena, Jodha was the daughter of Udai Singh of Marwar and was married to Salim, not Akbar. While making his claims before the media, he said,
Jodhabai was the daughter of Moteraja Udai Singh and she would have been three years younger than Salim and hence, in no way could she have been his mother… she was Akbar’s daughter-in-law. So, depicting Jodha as Akbar’s wife is not tolerable.”
Karni Sena activists burnt posters of Jodhaa Akbar in Rajasthan. Activists also gathered outside the Rambagh Palace hotel in Jaipur, where Abhishek Bachchan‘s birthday party was scheduled. They shouted slogans against Aishwarya Rai for playing the role of Jodhabai in the film, as well as against the director, Ashutosh Gowarikar. Hindustan Times The outfit carried out a series of protests against Gowarikar in Rajasthan, asking him to apologize for the content of the film. The Karni Sena also moved to court seeking a ban on the release of the film. Reportedly, activists of the Karni Sena wrote letters in blood against the film’s release and sent them to theatre owners.
Opposing the telecast of the show Jodha Akbar (2013)
In 2013, Ekta Kapoor‘s historical drama TV show Jodha Akbar was embroiled in high controversy as Karni Sena opposed it for ‘distorting facts’ related to the history of Rajputs. They demanded that the show be taken off the air. The founder patron of SRKS Lokendra Singh Kalvi claimed,
A marriage of convenience between the Mughal emperor Akbar and an imaginary Rajput princess, Jodha, is historically incorrect.”
A handful of Karni Sena activists attacked Ekta Kapoor at Jaipur Literature Festival in 2014. The activists threw bottles at her meanwhile raising slogans against her. Karni Sena also attacked the Zee Media office in Jaipur and burnt an effigy of Ekta Kapoor during the series of protests. The Sena members alleged that Ekta Kapoor had initially promised to change the name of the serial but she backtracked on her promise. The Times of India Consequently, Ekta backed out as a producer for the show. Hindustan Times
Padmaavat row (2018)
In 2017, Kalvi-Karni Sena attracted national attention when it launched a protest against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmaavat (2018), featuring Deepika Padukone in the titular role. SRKS alleged that the film featured scenes showing romance between Chittor queen Padmini and Alauddin Khilji in a dream sequence which hurt the Rajput sentiments. Karni Sena led violent protests in various districts throughout India ahead of the film’s release in January 2018 and also vandalized theatres which were screening the film. While addressing the media during the protests, he said,
Gardanein katwayi hai mere poorvajon ne. Apne sunehre itihaas ko kaali syaahi se mitne nahin dunga.”
(My ancestors sacrificed their lives (for honour). I won’t let our golden history be smeared with black ink)
The protestors vandalised the film’s sets and manhandled director Bhansali, tearing off his clothes. India Today The SRKS activists threatened to behead Bhansali if he proceedeed with the release of the film. Mahipal Singh Makrana threatened physical violence against Deepika Padukone saying that they would not hesitate to chop her nose off, meanwhile, Kalvi called her “naachnewali.” Kalvi also threatened to burn down any theatre which screens the film saying,
Jauhar ki jwala hai, bahut kuch jalega. Rok sako to rok lo.”
(This is the fire of ‘jauhar’, a lot of things will burn. Stop us if you can.)
On 14 March 2023, Lokendra Singh Kalvi passed away due to a heart attack at SMS Hospital in Jaipur, Rajasthan. He was admitted to the hospital fifteen days before his death due to his deteriorating health. His corpse was taken to his native village, Kalvi, in Nagaur district for his last rites. The Indian Express