The life of Bhagwan Gawai is a true example of how one’s fate can change with time if you have the determination and will to make the necessary improvements. Gawai lived his early life in extreme poverty. He was a child labourer and had to often sleep on an empty stomach. Watching his mother stay hungry made him push his limits and revive their situation. He made his struggle his weapon to succeed in life and today he owns the company worth several crores.
Bhagwan Gawai’s transformation from a slum dweller to a global industrialist is nothing short of a movie plot. He was born into a very poor family in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. His father used to work as a labourer at a construction site and received a meager salary, which was not enough to run the family with four children. So his mother also started working as a labourer. The family’s misery increased with the death of Gawai’s father in 1964. His mother, however, refused to give up and came to Mumbai with her four children.
Initially, getting a proper place to live with four children in the new city was a big challenge. Her mother started working in the jeep factory of Mahindra & Mahindra in Kandivali, the western suburb of Mumbai. The whole family started living in the nearby slum. At that time, Gawai used to study in STD 2. His mother understood that her children had to receive a proper education, otherwise they also suffer like her in their life. So she somehow managed to enroll them in the nearby school.
But unfortunately, the company’s work was completed and all the labourers were discharged. As a result, Gawai’s mother also lost her job. The family’s condition became worse. Her mother then joined as worker in a new steel factory of Mahindra in the Raigad district, 100 km away from the earlier place. His elder brothers also started working as labourers. After living a few years there, the whole family went to Ratnagiri where the family finally got some stability in their life.
“When all other children enjoyed summer holidays and festivals, I used to go to work with my mother for a daily wage of Rs 100 to 200. The money helped me in buying books.” – Gawai
In the meantime, Gawai passed the board exam with 85 per cent marks and applied for a job after seeing an advertisement in the newspaper. He got a job as a clerk in Larsen and Toubro and side by side also started preparing for civil services examination. In 1982, he got a new job in Hindustan Petroleum as a management trainee. Finally, fate was on his side and he got an opportunity to participate in a training program from the company at the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata. Here he learned all the tricks of business and also got promotions in the company.
While working in Hindustan Petroleum, Gawai learned the tricks of oil distribution and finally in 1991 decided to move to Bahrain. There he received a handsome salary while working for the Emirates National Oil Company, but used to save most of it. Here also he got an opportunity to go to Dubai from the company and saw that many illiterate people were doing business related to oil. Then he thought that when some illiterates can do businesses then why not him with such rich qualification. With this motivation, he laid the foundation of a fuel company with the partnership of a local businessman.
He instantly got success and never had to look back again. The success of the fuel company prompted him to form another company “Saurabh Energy” after his son’s name. Today, the company’s annual turnover is over Rs 128 crores.
The person who once worked for a daily wage of Rs 100-200, today is the owner of the company with turnover of several crores. This indeed is an astonishing turnaround of fate which is achieved through hard work, determination, and will to succeed.
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