Once a hard core addict and an alcoholic, he fought his odds with extraordinary courage and went on to become a charismatic social worker and leader of the masses. Professor Dr Puroshottam Wayal reflects on his poignant journey that has inspired him to transform the lives of thousands of youth and villagers across Maharashtra.
Hailing from Watur near Jalna in Maharashtra, Dr Wayal was brought up in a middle-class family with simple values. After completing his doctorate in Indian political thought – Lala Lajpat Rai, he joined the Senior College as a professor and settled down in life like any other householder. “Life sailed smoothly for me, until I started compromising on my values,” he reveals. “As I progressed in my career and grew prosperous, my circle of friends changed and from a simpleton, I became an arrogant man. I started casting aspersions on people and mocking them. Late night parties became a habit with me and soon I was downing liquor like never before. People would often find me in an inebriated state.”
Dark moments of despair
Within no time, Dr Wayal had become a hard-core alcoholic. He squandered huge amounts of money on alcohol and resorted to other addictions as well. “But all these only led me into depression,” he adds. “Matters reached flashpoint when I completely lost track of my life. On the one hand, I felt guilty that I was tarnishing the reputation of my family and college and on the other, I indulged in drinking, all the more, to relieve myself from anxiety and tension.”
A ray of hope
The next 11 years saw Dr Wayal’s life on a downward spiral. He was lost, frustrated and almost died of despair. “It was around this time that life took an unexpected turn,” says Dr Wayal. “I chanced upon a stress-elimination program organised by the Art of living. The 6-day workshop not only cured me of insomnia but proved to be a life-transforming experience. I had a sound sleep for the first time in the 11 troubled years of my life.” remarks Dr Wayal.
The big transition
After this, there was no looking back for the professor. He started abstaining from alcohol and put himself on a healthy diet. Slowly and steadily he outgrew his vices and focused on his life and work. “The shift did not happen overnight. Moreover, the techniques imparted to me in the workshop gave me a lot of confidence and solace. I also underwent youth leadership training programs that imbued with different life skills. I was marveled to see my own energy level double up within a span of 12 days.”
Within two months, Dr Wayal was completely free of all vices. He took complete charge of his life and looked much younger than age. “I was a changed man. My focus was now to gather misguided youths who were hard core addicts or alcoholics and inspire them .”
Empowering the youth
Dr Wayal began with the youth leadership training programs which aimed at strengthening the youth at an emotional, spiritual and mental level, after which they are given practical training on the field which enabled them to play the role of doing some meaningful work for society. “In Maharashtra itself, we have catered to thousands of addicted youth across various villages. And we have received an overwhelming response. I have been working in a village called Selu in Maharashtra with youths and villagers. Over 40,000 people have been inspired to be catalysts of change. They have quit alcohol and other nefarious activities and are working towards building a better community. My objective is to empower each and every youth in the rural areas, to help raise a self-reliant village.”
A winner in his right
Recently Dr Wayal was awarded by prestigious social organisations of Maharashtra for his noteworthy contribution to society. “Indeed it was a proud moment for me and my family. The certificate of merit is testimony to the transformation that has happened in the society. But I want to continue working with more vigour and enthusiasm.”
Ask Dr Wayal, the secret of his success and he is quick to respond, “I have always given my hundred percent. As a child, I played hundred percent, even when I was consuming alcohol, I was doing it hundred percent and now that I am focused on my work, I am dedicated cent percent. Youths have tremendous potential to change the destiny of a nation. Unfortunately, today a large number of them are reeling under pressure, are victims of drug abuse or alcohol and indulging in anti-social activities. But we are tirelessly working to channelise these youth energies in the right direction. The resurgence of youth power will ensure a clean, stress-free and corrupt-free India. My dream is to take India to new heights on the global scene. And we are moving a few notches higher everyday,” concludes Dr Wayal with a smile.
Story Credit: Art of Living Bureau of Communications