AHMEDABAD (TIP): For Bhanu Patel, 57, the transformation in prison did not mean keeping his head low and cursing self for the situation he found himself in. Instead, Patel, a doctor by profession, obtained 31 educational qualifications and is all set to enter record books for the ‘Most educational qualifications during imprisonment’. Patel has got certificates from Unique World Records and Asia Book of Records, while Limca Book of Records has confirmed his entry for its 2013 edition. Patel, convicted in 2004 for violation of the then Foreign Exchange Regulation Act ( FERA), was in prison from January 2005 to December 2011.
“Due to my qualifications, I was given duty at jail dispensary and then at the library at Sabarmati jail. Prison officials soon introduced me to open universities. Due to my proficiency in English, I was given the responsibility to correspond with Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University (BAOU),” says Patel. Since then, there was no looking back. Over next six years, Patel completed courses such as MSc, MCom and BCom apart from several PG diplomas. Looking at his qualifications, BAOU made him a consultant soon after his release. In 2012 assembly elections, Patel perhaps became the first election observer who had served a jail term. Patel is coordinator for BAOU courses taught at 26 centres in state jails and will soon join the teaching staff of the university after clearing the NET.