|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Sanjay Dutt to prepare for Mahatma Gandhi exam
Syed Firdaus Ashraf | August 03, 2007 20:29 IST
Dutt, who reportedly got interested in the Mahatma after his role in the super-hit film Lagey Raho Munnabhai [Images], met with Gandhian activist and lawyer Asim Sarode soon after his transfer to Yerawada prison, in Pune, from Mumbai's Arthur Road jail.
During their conversation Friday, Dutt expressed his desire to appear for the October 2, 2007, exam, which is timed to coincide with the Mahatma's birth anniversary.
Sarode's organization, Sahyog Trust, is active in the field of human rights and law, and for the last four years has been conducting exams on Gandhi's life and teachings for the inmates of Yerwada.
The paper is set for a maximum of 100 marks, and successful candidates earn a certificate of merit.
By way of preparation, the organization gives each interested inmate three books on Gandhi, two months before the date.
The prescribed texts include a 400-page autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi; 'Mangal Prabhat', a booklet the Mahatma Gandhi wrote while he was an inmate of Yerwada for six years during the 1920s; and a book on Gandhi written by Manuben Gandhi, a close associate.
"Sanjay was very keen to appear for exams when I met him, so I handed him three books to read so that he can appear for the exams on October 2," Sarode told rediff.com
Sarode had seen the Dutt-starrer Lagey Raho Munnabhai and loved it, but never imagined that one day he would get to speak to the star about Gandhian thought.
"He looked like any other prisoner, in prison clothes and basic slippers."
Dutt -- or prisoner C-15170, as he is identified in the Yerwada records -- has slipped into the routine of prison life. He reached the prison late Thursday night, and was kept in a holding cell. This morning, he was shifted along with friend Yusuf Nulwalla (C-15171) to his cell in Special Barracks 3, and had his share of the prison breakfast, poha.
Girlfriend Manyata, and a few friends, had trailed the prison van in their cars, in a sign of solidarity, all the way to Pune, but did not meet with the star either last night or this morning.
He has not yet been assigned any chores; prison officials say he will be tested for fitness and aptitude before suitable occupation is allotted. Sources in the prison say Dutt has expressed a preference for a job in the jail's kitchen.
"He will be one of the cooks who prepare food for the 3,500 prisoners in Yerwada currently," sources said.
The 12 who have been sentenced to death in the 1993 bomb blasts case, including Yakub Memon, have also been shifted to Yerwada.