Popularly known as ‘Daddy’, the gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli, who is in Nagpur central jail currently, amongst other 160 jail inmates, has excelled an examination which is based on the ideologies of the ‘Father of the Nation’ Mahatma Gandhi. Every year on October 1, the examination is conducted by Sahyog Trust and Sarvodaya Ashram where out of 80 marks, Gawli managed to score 74 marks.
When AV spoke to Dr. Ravindra Bhusari from Sahyog Trust, he said, “Our efforts are dedicated to bring reformation in every convict since 11 years. Our motto is to bring positivity into their minds. It was an open book examination. We distributed books in the Nagpur Jail and conducted the exam. It’s great to see that Arun Gawli showed interest in taking part in that. Good to see that we are successful in bringing the positivity among the convicts and it is really inspiring for us.”
While Urmila Srivastav from Sarvodaya Ashram exclaimed, “Every human is a blend of faults and excellence. It is the responsibility of the society to give every citizen a superior environment and help them develop as a good human being. We are making consistent efforts to wash off negativity and bring positivity into the minds of the convicts and we hope Gawli get the same moral reform.”
In an interview earlier, he had said that he is the follower of Gandhian principles and believes that wearing a Gandhi topi is a necessity in politics. In a conversation with AV, his daughter Geeta Gawli told that she is immensely happy about the way her father took up every challenge came his way. She further expressed, “Irrespective of anything that my father is known for, his basic nature of Gandhigiri has helped him top amongst other inmates. He has also lent a hand to many needy people and played the role of Robin Hood.”
NCP MLC Vidya Chavan commented, “The time when Arun Gawli was a gangster, he never followed the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. If he would have followed Gandhi’s principles, he would have never committed such crime. I appreciate the efforts made by Sahyog Trust and Sarvodaya Ashram who are trying to bring some positivity in the minds of the convicts by teaching them the ideals of Gandhiji. Gandhi always believed that change can be brought into someone. If Gawli has genuinely learned the ethics of Gandhi, we believe it will be a great change in his character. All convicts must get a chance to reform themselves and studying Gandhiji’s morals is the best way to do that.”
Gawli, the founder of Akhil Bharatiya Sena, was in August 2012 convicted for the murder of Shiv Sena MLA Kamalakar Jamsandekar in 2008, and was awarded life imprisonment by a sessions court in Mumbai. Geeta, who in absence of her father, is trying her best to serve the party, continued saying, “I am working towards the development, without being partial to any religion or community. Mahatma Gandhi is my inspiration too and I follow his path to connect to my people.”
Gawli was arrested by Saki Naka police in Mumbai and booked for offences under IPC sections 302 (murder), 149, 120B, and sections 3(1), 3(2) and 3 (4) of the MCOCA Act. In the recent past, a Bollywood film has also been made on the life and times of the gangster, who has also tried his luck in politics.
MLC and Shiv Sena spokesperson Dr. Manisha Kayande stated, “We don’t know what principles Arun Gawli follows in his life — he must have read Gandhi’s autobiography and have scored some good marks. However, does he or did he ever follow Gandhi’s principles anytime in his life? Mahatma taught us non-violence and Gawli has been practicing violence throughout his life. He may be good at memorising and answering exam questions but it is doubtful whether he has understood what he read. It’s an irony.”
“We have seen Sage Valmiki being transformed from a robber to a poet! India has a strong cultural background and that can bring changes even in the minds of the convicts and they must get that chance. We expect Gawli must have transformed too,” she added.