A project that took root as an idea nearly a decade ago became reality with the publication of an anthology of poems penned by prison inmates. The collection of poems, Bandhanada Bhaava Lahari (Emotions of the imprisoned) was released earlier this month by Director-General of Police (Prisons and Correctional Services) Alok Mohan.
Chief Superintendent of Prison P. Ranganath, who was the moving force behind the project, said it began in 2012 when he was heading the Shivamogga district prison and decided to promote literacy among inmates in an effort to reintroduce them into mainstream society.
“Another interesting fact is that the majority of the inmates started writing poems after learning how to read and write,” said Mr. Ranganath.
To encourage literacy and reading, he also conducted a quiz competition each month under the banner ‘Saavira Rupayiya Sardara’ which had a cash prize of ₹1,000. “There was also an essay competition with topics such as, ‘What would I do if I were the head of the prison’,” Mr. Ranganath added.
The literacy project also helped the Prison Department get a glimpse into the minds of inmates. Many expressed their ideas through short poems. As many as 200 people wrote poems over the years, which have now been collected and published. “We consulted a donor who readily agreed to help to print the book,” Mr. Ranganath said. The department has sent complimentary copies to libraries and the government offices across the State.
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