Jails are usually the area of crime, viciousness, violence and more. But this independence day I came across a piece of news that really lifted my spirits and made me realize that prisons can actually work towards bringing the good out people.
In an unknown jail in Gurgaon, a team of 8 inmates, over the course of 4 months, created spectacular works of art and transformed the drab walls of the jail into colourful pieces full of patriotism and all that India stands for.
I know I know that that the people who are serving their sentences are not the best of the lot. They must have done a grievous crime to have been put there, and I also know that my words might seem immature.
But in light of all that is currently going on, the total and utter destruction that I’m seeing in various parts of the world, this small bit of news has made me feel that perhaps all is not lost.
And this is not the first jail to do something different for its prisoners. The famous Tihar jail has also an unconventional way of dealing with its prisoners, called the vocational and rehabilitation programme. It has led the way in changing the idea of punishment from a punitive to a reformative form.
Apart from just distracting me from the daily complaining and whining over the country’s situation, this act has also made me think that prisoners truly do need help in learning and evolving such skills, which can later on aid them in leading a quality life after their release.
After having been in the prison for so long, rehabilitation can be extremely difficult, and in many cases can lead to them rejoining a life of crime, which in turn would just put them back at square one.
Through this, not only are they learning a new skill, which could help them get a job later on, but also allow them a good and creative way to release any unnecessary aggression or feelings.
This project has also in a way effected the environment of the jail which would directly affect the inmates and their mindsets.
One cannot argue that art has always had a deep and profound impact on human beings, and no one has ever truly been indifferent too it. And so, having such beautiful pieces of art around the prison walls that were created, by their own inmates, could also perhaps affect the mindsets and work towards turning them more positive.
Unfortunately though, such programmes are mere exceptions and not the norm. It is incredible how these things can work towards altering a person opinions and mindset. If jails and correctional facilities start to emphasis on such projects more, perhaps the people would have a higher self worth.
Signing off, I would just like to that, on the happy day of achieving 70 years of freedom, it was nice to see that there was one good thing to come out of it. These paintings will be there for a long time, and hopefully more such masterpieces will emerge from unusual places.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.