It’s a very dramatic kind of way that we met Mr. Prashant Munnoli, the Dy.S.P of Channagiri subdivision in Davangere district and originally from Belagavi. He has just completed 2.5 years of rigorous training to be a Police Officer and is neck-deep in his duty- managing the COVID crisis being a key part of his current responsibility.
Many years ago, a person from Ramkrishna Mission came to me and handed over an MBA book with a hall ticket inside. It only had the student’s name and Bharatesh Global Business School as an exam center written on it. Since our lab hosts many online exams, I tried to find out his contacts but there were none. So I did what I knew best- searched his name on Facebook and dropped a message. And the next day, he was at Bharatesh to pick the book. Apparently, he had visited the Ashram after exams to relax and forgot the book there.
A mechanical engineer from KLE, he had just left his one-year-old job at TCS back then and was studying for his UPSC exams while also completing his MBA. He came across as a very grounded, intelligent, methodical, deep thinking and humble person. He is the same even today. After that day, we kept in touch and eventually, he even guided UPSC aspirants at a seminar at Bharatesh. Even today, he occasionally finds sometimes late at night to guide fresh UPSC aspirants online for the Vidya Kranti initiative.
Happenstances like these have been many in Prashant’s life. Rather, it’s been a happening life, though he confesses it has been fraught with quite a lot of struggle. His father is from Sultanpur, in Hukkeri taluk and had a transferable govt. a job which saw Prashant moving places every three years. Studying in Govt. Kannada medium schools throughout, his dad thought he better stay at Belagavi for his high school education. So there he was, in B.K. Model in 8th std. opting for Sanskrit, which he studied even in his PUC. He traveled from Nilaji to Belagavi every day and spent almost three hours in commuting. Obviously it impacted his studies and he scored around 55% marks in 8th and 9th std. Finally, his teacher, Ms. Jayashri Bhagoji came to his help. She allowed meritorious students like Prashant to stay in her house for studies. That saved him a lot of time spent in traveling. Prashant went from a mere 55% to 80% in 10th std. He wanted to pursue medicine but finally got into engineering. In his last year, he got placed in TCS, the only one from the mechanical branch in the overall 55 students that year.
Prashant always wanted to be into an administrative role and hence never quite liked the technical role. But he opted for TCS just to experience the Tata culture. He quit within a year and started preparing for his UPSC exams, first at Delhi, then Dharwad, Bangalore for one full year, and later for two years at Pune with his sister. He was inspired by his brother-in-law, Mr. Y.S. Patil who is now the DC of Vijaypura. He acknowledges the training at Chanakya Mandal and also at Dnyan Prabodhini at Pune.
Meanwhile, he attempted the mains thrice in KPSC and attended three interviews. The final attempt got him selected as the Dy. S. P. He had also cleared exams for Insurance, RTO CAT, PDO and Banking. All of this he achieved even before he hit his 30s. When prodded, on a lighter note, he adds that he took the Insurance job just to get married! His RTO stint was also special, with recruitment coming after 20 years, 11 posts and only one General Merit. He studied for this exam while commuting to and from Nipani, two hours each way. He expresses gratitude for his wife, who is herself an executive engineer in the PWD for those hard days.
He also cracked three mains in UPSC and attended two interviews. He joined as Dy.S.P. in October 2019. Being an engineer with experience in several sectors, he always wanted to be in administration because he says he wanted a bigger canvas to make an impact. Donning the uniform is a great feeling, he says.
The Channagiri sub-division was a newly carved one and Prashant grabbed this opportunity and established this office from scratch. Today, it has a full-fledged sub-division and around 250 policemen working under him. The current COVID challenge has been unforeseen, but he has handled it with elan. The rural population is equally affected as the urban one, he says. He has charted the route by seeking help from religious leaders who motivate the people to stay home and be safe. He also acknowledges the help of others like the Anganwadi staff, PDOs, health officials and his team. It’s always a coordinated effort, aided by local intelligence and local coordination, he adds. Speaking to the citizens, he has used the message to inspire them saying that “you are all police without uniform and I am a commoner with a uniform. So let’s work together to face this challenge”
Belagavi must indeed feel proud of Prashant who has inspired several students to study for the administrative services and also for the work he is currently doing. Someday soon, we could see him posted at Belagavi and that would complete the circle for this hard-working son of Belagavi.