Story of the Mumbai gangster who rebuilt his life by running marathonsThink Change India
Rahul 'Bhikhu' Jadhav, now a fitness and marathon enthusiast, once rubbed shoulders with the mafia and worked for an underworld don in Mumbai. After spending four years in jail, Rahul got addicted to drugs and alcohol and ended up at the Muktangan Rehabilitation Centre in Pune in 2015. Besides the substance abuse, Rahul also had a strong sense of disappointment arising from the thought that the society was not accepting him back.
Being an average student in school, Rahul, after completing his 10th grade, looked at avenues to get rich quickly and eventually fell in bad company. He started getting into charge sheets and was a hired hitman in Mumbai. He was arrested in 2007 and he was involved in 11 cases already by then. Apart from that, he had been booked thrice under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, had four cases of attempt to murder registered, and was wanted for being involved in several shootouts across Mumbai. After spending four years in Arthur Road Jail, Rahul got bailed in 2010. He was free of all the charges in 2013. He told Indiatimes,
I looked for a job, and after months of trying, I was employed as a quality inspector at a small company in Thane. I was doing well, and had successfully stayed away from my many vices.
When he finally found a job, it didn't take long for the police to arrive at his workplace and interrogate his managers and colleagues, consequently leading to Rahul losing that job. With unemployment kicking in and consistent rejections at every job interview, and disturbances popping up at home, he resorted to alcohol and drugs. With the addiction becoming stronger, his family had to send him to Muktangan Rehabilitation Centre.
At the therapy sessions, Rahul used to yell at his counsellor for he was asked to channelise his anger and focus on finding a job. When his counsellor asked him what he was good at, Rahul said he was used to running and he liked it as he would often run away from the police. Though not fully interested initially, but because of the counsellor's recommendation, he went ahead and finished a 10-kilometre marathon in 55 minutes, which to him felt like an achievement.
With reference from a friend, he found a job at a chocolate company that allowed him to work despite Rahul letting them know them that the police could still be looking for him. As of today, the 42-year-old former gangster keeps running whenever he can, but not away from life and the opportunities he gets.
In the build-up to his participation in the Mumbai Marathon, he recently ran from CST to Dombivali (about 63 km) in five hours and 50 minutes. He is now looking forward to a Mumbai-Pune run. He told Indiatimes,
It’s a three-day run but I might complete it in two days.