Alcoholics turn into social reformers in Maharashtra

More than 7,000 left their addictions in Maharashtra

Motivational Talks: Gauram Bidse creating awareness among school children and villagers in a villages of akole Maharashtra

Sanjivani Warkade  09822184791

Akola, Maharashtra: Art of Living teacher Gouram Bidave (9890012009) has transformed the lives of more than 7000 people with his natural herbs, and motivational talks. Villages like Taandalwadi, Jalagaon district, have turned 80 percent addiction-free, and Parbhani village of Selu district recently became 100 percent addiction-free, thanks to his services in the past five years.

Gouram found that addiction was the biggest social threat in tribal societies, especially during festive seasons. People spent their hard earned money on alcohol and led a miserable life. Belonging to one such area, he decided to eradicate this evil and enrolled himself in the YLTP programme in 2004.  He got the inspiration to bring about a change in the society and his passion soon became his profession.

Whatever Gouram learnt about herbal medicine from his grandfather came in handy when he started teaching and implementing Art of Living’s free programmes. He soon became adept at giving talks on alcoholism and addictions. He acquired professional skills in the subject, learnt Panchkarma treatment and naadipariksha, and cured related diseases and illnesses for free. Though Gouram had to face financial crises and opposition from his family, he was undeterred in his mission.

In 2010, when he came up with the idea of opening a de-addiction centre, a carpenter discouraged him by saying that he would not earn anything from it. Initially, no one turned up, but after a week it became popular. With an enrolment of more than 7000 people, it has shown excellent results in the past four years.

Every Monday, addicts from all over the country come to the centre and share their experiences for 1-2 hours. Most of them are from Mumbai, Pune, Jalgaon, Nashik, Aurangabad and Rajasthan. As an Art of Living teacher, Gouram offers counselling services to the patients. He develops personal relationships with them and personally wishes them on their birthdays and other important festivals. Some of his patients have become volunteers.

Gouram’s first patient was a poor and homeless person who went on to become the sarpanch of his panchayat. After complete de-addiction, he is now the proud owner an ice cream factory as well. Another addict, who was a cycle rickshaw puller, has overcome his habit now and owns six rickshaws apart from a wholesale vegetable market. Gouram’s intention is to reach out to more addicts and help them transform as this kind of service gives him immense satisfaction.

Yogeswar Koli from Taandalwadi village, who was an alcoholic for over 10 years said, “I had lost respect in the society and had to face severe financial crunch. I was part of a batch of 30 people, and now all of us are leading healthy lives. Gouram came like an angel and saved us. Otherwise, we would have lost our lives to alcohol.”

Patient Dhirendra Sagbhor, a farmer from Waki village said, “I was an addict for 11 years. I had a very bad relationship with my parents because of this habit though I was their only son. Five years back, I met Gouram, who encouraged me to overcome this addiction. Under his guidance, I’ve become an active social worker and I’m the sarpanch of my village. I visit him every week and help people in need of help, I have connected many people with Gauram to be freed from the clutches of addictions.”