14 Aug 2018
Irony much! Don Arun Gawli, murder convict, tops Gandhian-thought exam
Written byPallabi Chatterjee
Keeping in sync with his Gandhi topi, underworld don-turned-politician Arun Gawli has now become an expert of Gandhian philosophy by topping an exam on the same.
Gawli, currently lodged in Nagpur Jail on murder charges, took the exam last year, along with 159 others, including 12 on death row, several serving life-terms, and many undertrials.
Scoring a whopping 92.5%, Gawli emerged as the winner.
'The prisoners take the exam out of choice'
The 63-year-old, popularly known as 'Daddy', scored 74 out of 80, leaving everyone stunned.
The exam is conducted by Sarvodaya Ashram (Nagpur), Sahyog Trust (Pune) and Sarvodaya Mandal (Mumbai) every year for the prisoners.
Though it is a apart of their rehabilitation program, but appearing for the exam isn't compulsory. "Prison inmates appear for it out of choice," said Sahyog Trust trustee Ravindra Bhusari.
Inmates have to find answers from books left open
Explaining the pattern, Bhusari said, the exam is of an hour and isn't just ticking 'A', 'B' etc, but an 'open book' format.
"Every inmate is allowed to keep the book open and has to find the answers from therein. Its purpose is more of spiritual enrichment," he added.
The exam can be attempted in English, Hindi or Marathi. Gawli chose the last one.
'Apart from course material, gurujis inside jail help inmates'
The inmates are given course material a month in advance and they self-prepare for the exams, said Rani Bhonsale, SP of the jail.
There are also people inside the jail called gurujis, who're "tutors to all inmates and help in clarifying doubts."
Gawli opted for that as well, said Bhusari, adding "He has made a serious effort to imbibe Gandhian principles in his life."
Gawli and other winners were awarded on Saturday
Interestingly, Gawli wasn't even an original applicant for the exam last year in October.
"It was only after he saw the advance study material of all the candidates, that he expressed his desire to participate in the exam," Bhusari said.
On Saturday, he was duly awarded with Gandhian literature, handkerchiefs, Gandhian books, a pen and diary to write their experiences on Gandhi awareness exam.
'Want to encourage them further by requesting remission from government'
"We want to encourage them further by requesting the government to allow a remission. For every prisoner who appears successfully in the Gandhi exam, it'd mean a lot," said Bhusari, whose NGO has been conducting such exams for 11 years in various jails across Maharashtra.
#Knowtheman: Staunchly opposed Dawood, was wooed by Bal Thackeray
Coming back to Gawli, he was convicted in 2012 of murdering Shiv-Sena municipal councilor Kamlakar Jamsandekar, and was subsequently sentenced to life.
Accused of many other crimes, but this is the only one for which he has been convicted.
He raged in the 1970s, and had bloody wars with Dawood's gang till 1990s. In 1997, he forayed into politics and started Akhil Bharatiya Sena.