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LAXMAN GOLE’s New Innings with Vedzen

Sanat Sankrityayan 2010-12-23


Once booked under 18 cases, it would be hard to believe what’s become of Laxman Gole today. A Ghatkopar resident, he served six-and-half-years in jail. It’s been three years since his last term got over. As a consultant with Vedzen, a Pune-based company which assists corporates achieve business excellence, he gives his clients tips on positive thought and providing strategic direction.
In ’91, Gole was part of a ninemember extortionist gang. “We exactly knew what to say, whom to get the money from and where to injure the body so that the person won’t die but would be shattered,” he recalls. Money came quick but it was just a matter of time before law caught up with the gang. Within a few years, after two of his accomplices were encountered, there was a fallout. Some went absconding, some took up petty jobs while others might be still committing crimes, he says.
The change in Gole, as clichéd as it sounds, happened after he read Gandhi’s My Experiments with Truth. “Earlier, I was a chronic liar, so much so that I wouldn’t show a lost person the right directions. After reading the book, I began experimenting with my life. Beginning by vouching to speak the truth for just a day, I changed my behaviour towards my inmates, and gradually realised I could influence them,” he tells us. But wasn’t easy. “The first time I shared my thoughts of reformation with them, they thought I’d gone senile,” Gole explains.
Though he makes Rs 20,000 a month now, he wasn’t even close to getting a job in the transition period. “If you’ve been a criminal all your life and then claim to be looking for a job, people will never accept you, mocking ‘Yeh kya sudhrega’. To make them believe that I truly wanted to begin afresh was most arduous,” he says. That said, him being judicious about time helped. Also, his current employer took notice of his work in various jails and agreed to hire him. Thanks to his frequent visits to jail and a reading habit, he has mastered most of the criminal law sections of the IPC. He also has an offer from a law college in Gulbarga.
These days, he is so immersed in work, we felt guilty asking him to wait and pose for us, not to delay his bus to Pune and a subsequent one to Aurangabad for an assignment. However, we couldn’t miss his sharp gaze which met ours with confidence. “I don’t regret my past. It made me what I am today. I live by one principle now. There is no greater respect in the world than speaking the truth,” he says.

Published By Mumbai Mirror! Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ex- Convict hired by city firm now a Gandhism teacher

N 2004, Laxman Gole of I Ghatkopar in Mumbai was convicted to a little over four years in jail for 19 offences including assault and extortion. Today, he works for a firm in Pune.

Gole attributes his transformation to Mahatma Gandhi.
He says while serving his term in Nashik jail, he was touched by the Mahatma’s writings.
After his release, Gole started advocating Mahatma Gandhi’s principles and got associated with the Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal.

Six months ago, Gole got a call from Pune-based Yogesh Vagyani who offered him a job in his firm Vedzen, a Kaizen (a Japanese term for continuous improvement and striving for excellence) consultancy firm. ” I was watching a news channel when I saw Gole narrating his experiences of transformation from a convict to Gandhian philosopher. I immediately thought of hiring him,” said Vagyani, the founder of Nagar Road Industries Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture (NRICCA) and principal practitioner at Vedzen.

Elaborating the reasons for hiring Gole, he says, “Kaizen inculcates discipline, optimism, hard work and so on. When it comes to individuals, some of these qualities come from within. I saw these traits in Gole when I watched his interview on the channel,” Vagyani said.

Gole, who dropped out after Class VII was surprised when Vagyani offered him the job. “I was apprehensive but knew this was my chance to learn a new skill and earn a respectable livelihood,” says the 31-year-old.

While a new recruit usually gets theoretical and practical training, Gole was selected only for the practical module. “After about five months, I was put with a team of nine to visit companies and set up a Kaizen system. It was the happiest moment of my life,” Gole said.

Vagyani said Gole had done a wonderful job and was sent with other teams to three-four more companies to impart the six-month Kaizen training.
“Today I earn Rs 20,000 per month, am determined to climb up the hierarchy through hard work,” says Gole.

Tulsidas Somaiya, programme coordinator of Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal, says Gole is still connected with the Mandal. Gole was recently invited by the Karnataka State Law University to deliver a lecture at Gulbarga central prison.
The V-C, J S Patil, announced Gole’s appointment as honorary assistant teacher for Gandhism classes.

Published By Indian Express! December 18, 2010

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