“How many years you got?”
“Our family had been exploited since years. I took my revenge, and ended the chapter. Forever.”
This is one of the many conversations I had today in my visit to south Asia’s biggest prison—Yerwada Central Jail.
We had been given special permission by the Additional Director General (Prison), Maharashtra, to conduct a transformation workshop through our Rise Academy.
There were 350 prisoners in the session.
Who are these prisoners? They are people who have committed a serious or pretty crime and convicted by a court. Some of them were just scapegoats and some were just a pawn of our crime scene, disruptive society and loopholes in law and order.
There are regular people who have committed a crime mostly in a gesture of acute anger and helplessness. Many of them will stay here for a while, say 25 years.
Some of them for death sentence.
The start of the session was quite haywire because we couldn’t catch their attention.
They’re restless and frustrated. But towards the end most of them were crying aloud. Many felt transformation in 3 hours. Some were indifferent and walked away.
Although, I have visited some jails in past but this was a completely different experience as we got to interact one to one with many.
Most of them are filled with guilt because of the crime they committed. Most of them are products of the exploitative society and income inequality.
No one wants to live in a prison and they dream of a free life. We can’t give them their physical freedom but we tried to give them tools to get out of the emotional prison they live in.
Life in a prison is extremely difficult and dangerous. Few transform, few become criminal for a lifetime.
The person who was serving 25 years sentence is scheduled to get out in few months but he’s scared and depressed. He has no idea what to do in the new world he’ll enter, with no family or friends as such.
The trip to Yerwada jail has been an eye-opener for me, a more exciting trip than a trip to moon.
Jail is a great teacher. It teaches the value of life, especially freedom. It teacher that, usually, you can’t escape a crime – you have to pay for it.
And what is underlying emotion; mostly?
Anger destroys your senses and makes you a monster and in that moment, you do something terrible. You and your entire universe suffers.
I have learnt my lesson and want to request you to manage your anger otherwise it will turn you into a monster.
At the and, I feel, we’re all prisoners in our own jail of misbeliefs, suffering, ego, lust, greed, blind faith, frustrations and anger.
The only difference is they’re inside and we’re outside.