Monday, December 13, 2010

'Gandhiji changed my life'


Gandhiji changed my life'
T.V. Sivanandan

Ex-convict Laxman Gole shares his experiences with Gulbarga prison inmates

Telling tale: Laxman Tukaram Gole spins a charkha to produce yarn during a demonstration to mark Human Rights Day at Gulbarga Central Prison on Friday.

GULBARGA: This is a story of the transformation of a man from a hardened criminal to an ambassador of Gandhian philosophy and principles.

Thirty-one-year-old Laxman Tukaram Gole spent nearly seven years in different jails in Maharashtra, facing charges ranging from assault, attempt to murder and extortion. However, after coming under Mahatma Gandhi's spell, he became an apostle of truth and non-violence. He has now taken it upon himself to transform the lives of inmates in jails across the country.

I completed my last jail term from Nasik prison after being booked under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act on extortion charges. It was there that I came across My Experiments With Truth, the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi given by Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal, that changed the course of my life, said Mr. Gole, who was in Gulbarga to speak to the inmates of Gulbarga Central Prison and share his experiences with them.

In a chat with The Hindu, Mr. Gole said that he was drawn to the world of crime at the age of 17 when he stabbed a local goonda during a petty quarrel. That was the beginning of my journey into the world of crime. I was abandoned by my parents after several failed attempts to reform me, he added.

But all this changed after I read the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi. His honesty in accepting his follies and apologising for them moved me. I decided to follow Gandhian principles from that day, he said.

Mr. Gole said that he took an oath that he would only speak the truth from then on. The greatest challenge to my resolve came when I was produced before a judge in a court in Nasik. I confessed to my crime. The judge informed that I could be sentenced for upto seven years for the charges I faced. But I stuck to my resolve and told the judge that I wanted to serve the jail term.

After completing four years of the term, I came out and took up the task of going around prisons throughout the country and sharing my experiences with the inmates in an effort to change their lives too. Mr. Gole has already visited the high-security Tihar Jail and all jails in Maharashtra. He is visiting Karnataka for the first time.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Relevance of Gandhi (Review of the book - Timeless Inspirator - Reliving Gandhi)

Timeless Inspirator - Reliving Gandhi : Conceptualized and Edited by Raghunath Malshekar

Published by SAKAL for Gandhi National Memorial Society, Pune, India

Price - Rs. 490/-.

Relevance of Mahatma Gandhi
R. Devarajan

How relevant is Mahatma Gandhi in the 21st century? As many as 46 eminent Indians from various fields were asked this question by Raghunath Mashelkar, the internationally acclaimed scientist, and their responses are presented in this book. Mashelkar himself has this to say about it: “… not just a mere collection of thoughts. Collectively, it is the road map, or the way of life; it is the anchor for a youngster in search of inspiration.” “Gandhian Engineering” is a concept enunciated by Mashelkar in a talk he delivered in Australia in April 2008. More recently, in July 2010, it was further refined and redefined as “Gandhian Innovation,” and published in the Harward Business Review as an article, authored jointly by him and C.K. Prahalad. The crux of it is how to generate “more, from less, for more people”.

The galaxy of contributors is as varied as it is distinguished. To mention a few of them: Amjad Ali Khan, Anil Kakodkar, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Narayana Murthy, Kiran Bedi, M.S. Swaminathan, Mallika Sarabhai, Rahul Bajaj, Sachin Tendulkar, Sam Pitroda, and Sunil Gavaskar.

Every article has one aphorism or another pronounced by Gandhiji. Here is a sample: “Each of us must be the change we wish to see in this world”; “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”; “The future depends on what we do in the present”; “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed”; and “Truth alone will endure, all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time.”

Valid teachings
More than ever before, Gandhiji's teachings are valid today, when people are trying to find solutions to the rampant greed, widespread violence, and runaway consumptive style of living. Anu Aga, one of India's foremost women achievers, says that while, in the name of retaliation, violence and hatred are being perpetrated today Gandhiji's gospel of non-violence makes immense sense.

It was the unique non-violent movement under his leadership that earned for India freedom from the colonial rule. In spearheading the campaign against the alien rule, Gandhiji adopted the innovative techniques of civil disobedience and social transformation, which had several exemplary features.

The Gandhian technique of mobilising people has been successfully employed by many oppressed societies around the world under the leadership of people like Martin Luther King in the United States, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and now Aung Saan Sun Kyi in Myanmar, which is an eloquent testimony to the continuing relevance of Mahatma Gandhi.

In India, economic development has been mostly confined to the urban conglomerates. In the process, the rural India that comprises 700 million people has been given short shrift. Gandhiji's philosophy of inclusive growth is fundamental to the building of a resurgent rural India. He believed in “production by the masses” rather than in mass production, a distinctive feature of the industrial revolution. It is surprising, even paradoxical, that these days Gandhian philosophy should find increasing expression through the most modern technology! Now, it is possible to establish small-scale and medium-scale factories in smaller towns and remote corners of the country, thanks to the phenomenal innovations in communication and information technologies. New technologies have brought in widespread and low-cost electronic connectivity that enables instantaneous contact between industrial units and the sellers and consumers of their products. Location and logistics are no more a limitation or constraint for industrial development.

To quote Sam Pitroda, “While the twenty-first century has been defined by globalisation, free markets, privatisation, liberalisation… it has also been marked by violence, extremism, inequity, poverty, and disparity. Amidst all this, if one poses the question of relevance of Gandhiji to our age, one is struck by an astounding need for him for our times. Gandhiji's ideals… and leadership hold an extremely relevant moral and social mirror to our society.” Thus, the Gandhian model and the modern economy seem to be getting closer to each other. True to its title, the book will inspire social scientists, wherever they may be, for all times to come. Gandhiji did not belong to an era, or an age. He belongs to the humanity for eternity.

Courtesy: The Hindu, dt. 07.12.2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010


2nd October - International Non-Violence Day
at Shahir Amar Shaikh Hall, Vidyapeeth Vidyarthi Bhavan, Churchgate (W)

Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal and N.S.S. Unit of University of Mumbai have jointly organized the mega event at Shahir Amar Shaikh Sabhagriha, Vidyapeeth Vidyarthi Bhavan, ‘B’ Road, Churchgate (W), Mumbai 400 020 2nd October to commemorate an International Non-Violence Day.

About 500 N.S.S. students from 70 colleges of University of Mumbai will participate in this event. The programme will include prayer, bhajans, peace songs and speeches by the Chief Guest Shri. M. N. Singh, Ex. Commissioner of Police and NSS Officials. Students will take the pledge to work for peace & non-violence which will administrate by the Chief guest at the end of the programme.

Friday, August 6, 2010



About 3,050 Students participated and took the pledge to work for Peace & Nuclear-free World

About 3,050 students from 80 colleges, social activists, and peace-loving citizens in the city marched from Azad Maidan to Hutatma Chowk today on Hiroshima Day. Peace march was organized by Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal and NSS Units of University of Mumbai & SNDT University to mark the 65th anniversary of the devastation of Hiroshima & Nagasaki with a deadly atomic attack by America during World War II & to join hands with the people of the world to make a nuclear-free world.

The devastation had such an effect that one lakh sixty thousand people were killed in the atom bombing leaving several thousands crippled. The after effects of the bombing and radiation claimed over three lakhs lives over the years.

Peace Rally was lead by the students carrying replica of Atom Bomb with a slogan ‘No Bomb – Save Earth’. Students from various colleges were also carrying play-cards and banners depicting slogans like “No More Hiroshima”, and “We want to grow up, not to blow up”. Peace rally was started from Azad Maidan and concluded at Hutatma Chowk where a Pledge was taken by more than 3,050 students to work for peace & a nuclear-free world. Prof. Ramesh Deokar, NSS Programme Officer, University of Mumbai, administrated the Pledge.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Following the Mahatma's lead, 1,200 students carrying banners & play-cards marched for Peace & Harmony

1,200 Students dressed in traditional costumes of various communities marched on Gandhi's 62nd Martyrs' Day 

Students carried Banners & Play-cards with the message on Communal Harmony and took the pledge to work for Peace & Integration

1,200 NSS students from 42 colleges of Mumbai & SNDT University along with the Gandhian activists, social workers, peace-loving citizens marched for Peace and Communal Harmony from Azad Maidan to Hutatma Chowk today. The Peace March was jointly organized by Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal and Gandhi Smarak Nidhi to commemorate 62nd Death Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Volunteers dressed in traditional costumes of various communities carried banners & play-cards with the slogans on Communal Harmony, “Hate Hurts, Harmony Heals”, “An Eye for an Eye will make the whole world blind.” etc. were the main attractions of the peace rally.
The purpose of the rally was to inculcate the spirit of peace and communal harmony as Gandhi had visualized amongst people from different walks of life which is the need of the hour to lead our country towards progress. This is more relevant and necessary in today’s atmosphere where hatred, disharmony, violence and intolerance are spreading at an alarming rate and moral values are on a decline.
At Hutatma Chowk, there was all religious prayer at 5 O’ clock followed by an Oath at 5.17 p.m. (the time when Gandhi was assassinated), was taken by 1,200 students with peace-loving citizens to oppose all forms of communalism, casteism, chauvinism; never to resort to violence and intolerance and to work for promoting harmony, goodwill and peace in the world.