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‘Gandhiji changed my life’

Sanat Sankrityayan 2010-12-21

on 10th December, Human Rights Day, Mr. Gole was invited by Karnataka State Law University to share his life experience regarding Gandhiji’s autobiography with Gulbaraga central’s prisoners.

Karnataka - Gulbarga  

‘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, 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.

Published By The Hindu On December 11, 2010


Ex-convict secures varsity teacher’s post

In mythology, a reformed Ratnakar became Valmiki and went on to write the Ramayana. Laxman Gole, who had served sentences for assault, attempt to murder and extortion, has now become a preacher of Gandhian values. That’s not all; the 31-year-old former convict has been offered an honorary assistant teacher’s job by the Karnataka State Law University.

After being introduced to Mahatma Gandhi’s writings during his jail term of almost seven years, Gole became an advocate of non-violence and truth. In fact, he has made it his life’s mission to transform lives of jail inmates across the country.

Last week, on Human Rights Day, he was invited by the Karnataka State Law University to deliver a lecture at Gulbarga central prison. He spoke to the inmates about Gandhi’s autobiography My Experiments With Truth, which, he says, changed his life.

According to Tulsidas Somaiya, programme co-ordinator of Mumbai Sarvodaya Mandal, impressed by Gole’s lecture, the university’s vice-chancellor JS Patil announced Gole’s appointment as an honorary assistant teacher. “His new job will enable him to share his experiences with students and guide them to a better future. Gandhiji’s thoughts have changed his life completely,” said Somaiya.

Gole, who had studied up to Std VII, said that his life took a new turn after he read Bapu’s biography. “When I appeared for the Gandhi Peace exam in Nashik jail, I realised that there was much more to life than power and money. After speaking to inmates about my experience after reading the book, I received letters from them,” he said.

Gole was detained under the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act and was externed from Mumbai for two years. After his release from Nashik jail in 2008, he spent almost one and a half years at the Mumbai Sarvodaya Mandal’s Gandhi book shop at Grant Road.

Six months ago, a Pune-based consulting firm offered him a Rs20,000 a month job in the training section of their human resources department. He has been working for the firm since then.

The teacher’s job will take him to Karnataka occasionally. Gole has plans to marry soon.

Published By DNA On 18.12.2010

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