Sunday 26 June 2011



My life isn’t as funny as this blog suggests! Or maybe it actually is, but from the viewers point of view. I have been really wanting to write about something that has really touched the way I perceive the things around me and why we the MY-LIFE-IS-SO-STALE sulking people should be grateful that God let it remain stale and not spicy enough to kill us.


Last December I interned with CHRI. If your GK isn’t keeping pace, CHRI stands for Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. A great NGO with a few good souls trying to make things better for the long forgotten sections of the society, including PRISONERS. You might wonder as to why do prisoners need help and I wont blame you because even I smirked when I read about it in the organisation’s web site. Let me remind you that this is a huge organisation dealing with all the commonwealth countries.

Because of my curiosity, I applied for the prison reforms department of the NGO and luckily got in. It was fun at first but then as always it got dull and utterly boring and that’s when I got this offer. I along with the department heads have to visit this tiny village/ city ALWAR in Rajasthan for a week and go to the Central Prison and conduct interviews. Off course I got hyper! Visiting a prison and that too conduct personal interviews of the DAKOOS, RAPISTS, MURDERERS, DRUG DEALERS, sounded cool to me for some alien reason.

We reached Alwar and it is looked like a moving picture to me. Exactly like you see in the paintings. Colourful turban adorned men playing cards by the street, camels, and women with pots on their head. I felt like the perfect tourist! But this is not I came here for. Atleast not completely! I was here to interview the under-trials. Under-trials mean the prisoners who have been accused of committing an offense and are not actually punished. I mean to say that their case is still going on in the court and actually not decided.

I entered the Central Prison the next day and on the outside it looked beautiful. The Jailor was good to me and it seemed like everyone respected him. There were some white KHAKI clad men who were taking care of the records. The jailor told me that these white uniformed men were actual convicts who have been given life sentence for murder, rape, dacoity. I gulped because these were the people who would be helping me out with the record keeping. They seemed innocent to me though! I still did not understand why prisoners needed protection and rights.

Hospital stretcher turned into a table and seats were provided. The 368 undertrials in the prison where alphabetically categorized, with the age group being from 15 to 80 yrs. I was ordered to just ask the questions and not get any deeper because they get very emotional especially the women. So, the stern face of mine helped or maybe it did not. You know you picture murderers, rapists, dacoits to be those rugged faced, evil shine in the eye, a big scratch on the face type, but they never are. These were really sweet people who did not even try to judge someone who didn’t know anything about their life, interviewing them. Each one of them had weird names though. KALU BHAI, MOTURAM (this was as thin as a toothpick), SALEEM a.k.a HITLER RASHEED and so on.

These people needed real help. They were here just because they were accused of something and not actually held guilty by the Court. A guy who was accused of steeling a gold chain had been waiting for the courts decision since 4 yrs, while Mr LAWBOOK clearly states that if proven guilty the maximum time of imprisonment would be 3 years! Another guy could not even sit properly and he tried to escape the looks of the jail authorities and tell me that in the police station he was beaten up and then hung from the ceiling and his legs where pulled in opposite directions till it snapped. All I could do was listen. Another guy told me that he was caught sleeping in the railway station and the police arrested him and charged him of murder and some unfinished cases. His widowed mother and sister still have no idea where he is. He is the sole bread earner of the family too. A man of 73 yrs old was here because some drugs where found on his farm. If found guilty he could be in jail for minimum 10 years to maximum life. This old man had severe gangrene and he faints every two hrs because of lack of medicine. He claims that a treatment for this is not available in the jail and the medicine he got from the previous checkup is over. His feet were literally like rotting tomatoes and he was forced to remove slippers before getting inside the interview room while I was allowed to get in with my muddied sandals! I am not saying that these people are innocent. Maybe they are lying. But the opposite cannot be ignored unless the justice cycle is complete. There was not even one who was a school graduate and were mostly illiterate. No lawyers, no clue how their case is going on in the court or are they just dusts for the legal system. Those with lawyers are looted till they have to sell off their lands to pay the fee and then one day the lawyer disappears. The magistrate sitting in court is always on leave and their case is never decided.

All we could do is interview them and then leave to our starred hotel rooms while they wait in anticipation and never loosing hopes. I and the heads managed to jot down the names of the inmates who had no lawyers and gave to the jailor. They have every right for a free lawyer which the government clearly states it provides. About the gangrene affected old man, I hope he is alive till Justice is rendered!

P.S- I don’t expect many readers for this because this is my first ever serious post and no one actually cares to read such long posts. But I wrote it for me!


  1. This is really sad. Agreed, they made mistakes in life but who doesn't? I've heard horror stories about prison life here. I can only imagine what emotional turmoil they go through as a result.

  2. Awful! you know, in a country as corrupt and haphazard as ours, you can expect anything...and an innocent person imprisoned for life while a criminal not only walks scott free, but also becomes an MP is only an example! I hope the firm you talked abt is doing something about this!

    and great post!

  3. True, and isn't it written somewhere in our constitution that everyone is innocent until proved otherwise in the court of law. But often the law keepers tend to take their loads off from pending cases by convicting petty thieves or even innocent and ignorant people into them while the real culprits roam at large.

    It was really a touching write up, and I just wish that the efforts made in providing them a means of justice soon yield fruit.

    Touching post.

    Blasphemous Aesthete

  4. Very sad... the law does say that one is innocent until proven guilty.. unfortunately, the legal dept sits on the case longer than the sentence.. real sad.

    n hey Red, loved the post.. don't underestimate the power of ur writing, Red ..its really good :)

  5. @Lover- I am not against punishing the offenders with what the law book says but treating them like animals isnt just right! Thankyou for being the first reader!

    @Indumathy Sukanya- In a country like ours, everything is just a game, even lives! Thankyou!

    @Blasphemous Aesthete- It is written but these poor people have no clue about any law. They know nothing and thus are used!

    @R-A-J- The high profile cases take a long time so just imagine the case of these forgotten poor people. Its degrading! nd thankyou so much for reading!

  6. Sad state of affairs but well written. The age old cliche 'justice delayed is justice denied' still rings true. The main concern of the authorities should be to dispose of the cases pending for years and give respite to the people languishing in jails. Is there any initiative taken in this direction?

    PS: Why do you think readers only like to read funny, short posts. Length doesn't matter if is it is engaging. I liked this post. :)

  7. @Ajay- Sadly i do not think an initiative has yet been made. I have no idea what the organisation is doing with the reports it collected. Maybe just publish it and forget it.Maybe not even that. But i hope the name we tried to give where helped enough by the authorities. Prayers thats all!Thankyou so much for reading :)

  8. Justice delayed is justice denied!!
    Really sad to know such grave injustice happens to such a huge majority even when we boast of fast track courts and the like.

    Good post anyways!!
    And I'm new here but I'm sure I'll be here again!! :))
    Keep writing!

  9. Grave cases like these are no less than a slur for a nation where a policy of 'innocent until proven guilty' is followed. If we do not have to practically follow it then why not change it to 'guilty until proven innocent' system, like many middle eastern countries. At least, then we won't be labelled as a hypocritic nation.

    It was a poignant reminder of the loopholes in our country! Distressing...indeed!! And I hope justice comes quickly their way.

  10. A very sad but true face of the Indian justice system. Look at Salman Khan who just ran over people and killed them and he is out within no time! On the other hand, a poor man sleeping on railway station is arrested for some unsolved murder cases and no one bothers.. The elite class plays with the law while the poor have to bear the brunt even if they are not guilty. I have read numerous cases where the accuse is declared innocent after he has served twice the sentence he was entitled for the crime he had not committed! Really sad and pathetic.. The least the government could do for the undertrials is that be treated as a human

  11. A very moving post, its really sad that precious years of a person's life are lost because of an inefficient judicial system....Its good that you made an effort to help them by informing the jailor, hope it does help them in some way!!!

    As Ajay pointed out, people read serious posts.....There are a lot of blogs which can make one laugh, but posts like these make us think....There's no way people like me would have ever been aware of the plight of these inmates.....Nice work and do keep writing such posts!!!

  12. Gave a really nice insight into the Judicial system and its plenty many loopholes. People with power and authority often override the law(Like someone's mention of Salman Khan), this is ofcourse explicit in our country.

    If only we could bring in accountability and transparency, lives would change for the better.

    BTW, all your posts need not be funny if they`re interesting, gripping or lengthy like this one.

  13. Liked your post.... its not possible to be funny or interesting or smart or witty all the time... if there is a funny side, there has to be a serious side....

    about the prisoners, NGO and your role in it, I guess there is hardly much one can do about it other than just WAIT for the JUSTICE... nobody will file a case for a delayed justice.. ppl will thank their stars and move on....

    and I guess on the flip side, you will also learn to keep an emotional distance from the kind of work you are involved in.

  14. I am curious if these persons are found innocent do the judicial system compensate them in any way. @red u study law, so hopefully u can answer this

  15. The world has always been like that you know. Its just our realization that takes time.

    There's a thought somewhere I came across during a lecture on evolution and Darwin's survival of the fittest thought somewhere:

    "...In those times all questions of morality, of right and wrong, justice, boil down to one simple choice: Survive OR Perish.."

    Read white tiger. You'll read it in a new light now. Its scary.

    Btw, great post. :) And I bet life-experience too.

  16. @Kavitha- Fast track court are just for namesake! Magistrates are never present. These prisoners are taken thr, forced to sign attendance and then taken back. Thanks for reading
    @Vinati- Hypocrisy it is and hypocrisy it shall always be! Its not about loosing hope but change is rarely seen. Thankyou
    @Maithili- You made me feel like you actually read each nd every word. I appreciate it a lot you know! Trully!I too hope that this inhuman treatment stops
    @Vijay Bhaskar- We could just give the names. Follow up as to the measures taken after we left couldnt be done. Thankyou for reading. Appreciate it a lot :)
    @Atrocious SCribbling- Transparency is totally lacking, while accountability i guess its all a blame game now! I really am happy that you read it
    @M- Oh i did learn to take a professional approach. But though you manage to hide the emotions, you get it all back when you are in you spacious room. You cant help but wonder then.Thanks!
    @Partha- There is no said compensation that is the worst part. Actually thr is no law made for the undertrials and since majority are illiterate they are crushed!They have no idea about bailable and non bailable offenses and such.
    @Sam-Survive or Perish it is! But here they do not have a choice than perish! I havent had the opportunity to get a copy of that book but will try. Yes this was a great life experience. Thankyou so much for reading!

  17. This post left a very icky feeling in the pit of my stomach. Ah. Sad sad world we live in.

  18. There are always two sides of the same story.. What you have witnessed is the other side.. As much as we try to avoid it, this world is a bigger jungle where only the strongest (Read: Power-hungry freaks) survive.. Sad state of affairs!!

    Great Post though :)

  19. @zeba- trully! Sad sad world it is! Thankyou so much for reading
    @Binu Thomas- yes you are right that thr are two sides of the same story. But this is the ugly part which is beautifully ignored. Thankyou!

  20. Its so easy to forget things like this and go on with life as though none of this existed. Every law says one is innocent until proven guilty. This seems to be the other way round! Very good post, something that will remain in my head for a long time!

  21. it is really sad indeed. They might have done some mistakes in life but they have the right to justice.
    And who says they won't read long serious posts, it's a great experience you've had and everyone thoroughly appreciates you for sharing it with us.

  22. u kno even i was thinking on the same lines how kanimozhi gets supreme court to hear her case in 15 days when she s accused of STEALING 200 crores and i am sure these ppl couldnt have collectively stolen the same amount.SAD SAD SAD.nice post though!

  23. @Nirvana- Happy that it left an impact in you :D
    @Vikay Menon-It really was a great experience! Thankyou so much for reading!
    @Maniac.hunter- I second your words!Justice is just accessible for the ones on top.

  24. Indian constitution is like a gravy. It licks from the surface but does not look beyond it; the core.

  25. @redhanded you would be interested in this please read its a moving account of a prisoner on trial:

  26. The injustice of it all! I cannot be more proud of India but it is sick the way common man is treated here. While rich bastards get away with anything including murder, the poor and the middle class bear the brunt of the law only because they can be tossed around. Everyone, everywhere, all the time are corrupt, man. Damn them all to Hell and back and while I'm at it, I can only pray there is hope yet for the future generations:|

    Good post, as usual.
    And DUDE!!! YOU WON!! The TT pick, that is. Congrats:)

  27. @Kochuravi- Thankyou so much!
    @Anonymous- For sure!
    @Priyanka- Thanks for reading!! nd yes i just noticed that. Yay! :D

  28. This post was worth a read.Its only when we see the other side of life that we do realize how fortunate we are, the worst of all is when we try doing something about it, and we are stopped by the the same people who very well have the authority to change the situation.

  29. @Menachery- Word! When the people at power dont take a step and cut your legs down when you try to. Ugly truth!

  30. Wow, this is so sad. You are right, these people might be guilty, but 4 years for a gold chain?

  31. It is completely depressing that we can't treat them right. Especially since they haven't been convicted of their act yet.

    I was already aware the situations are really bad. But I can imagine the first hand experience, left a mark on you for life.

    I hope that the situation changes. Both in the legal system and for the accused and convicted.

  32. @RP-Seriously! Even i was flabbergasted!
    @Srinidhi- I pray the situations change too my girl . Thanks a lot for reading :)

  33. Great post ,you might not expected much readers but people do like to read serious post if they know whats its like going through pain.

    although i mostly dont read serious posts, but i could stop myself from reading this.

  34. This is so sad. A shame on our judiciary. If innocent people are being framed for the charges they have not even committed then that's cruelty!
    I appreciate your writing about this very personal and Life changing incident.

  35. "I don’t expect many readers for this because this is my first ever serious post and no one actually cares to read such long posts. But I wrote it for me!". You did not!! You wrote with sharp iron pencils on the heads of those countless torchbearers of law in our highly hypocrytic country where a Kalmadi and Anna Hazare share a cell; where the rich terrorists walk scot free while the penniless man suffers all the incongruences of a century-old law still being practices in the largest democracy in the world!!

    Hats off your writing!

  36. it pains to note that when criminals like kasab are treated royally in our jails, we dont have the basic sympathy for the gangrene affected old man, the poor man who cannot sit....................kudos for this post

  37. Our system is so pathetic. I never knew prisoners lead such a pathetic life! And here we crib about our life being crappy!

  38. Crime should be followed by healing. Both the parties involved.

    But that can be painful

  39. Its painfully touching. Criminals are just misguided sweet people. I agree with that. Its sad that they face circumtances that make them do such things.

  40. Mesmerizing post.
    That's all I could think of.

    Following your blog :)
    Hope you like my blog too ;)

  41. Stumbled upon your blogspot while I was googling ways to escape marriage and became a fan of your writing..
    And I liked this one the most among what I have read until now..
    If there is an action plan for the same, I would like to join for the welfare of the innocent ppl.. For that matter, any thing for this society..

  42. Anyone who writes something as captivating as the other posts, must be able to use that skill to send across a message I thought and I find it here in this post that you have written straight from your heart. And I do see that as expected there are fewer people reading/commenting on this post. However, w.r.t issue of custodial torture, very few see, very few are moved and at the end of the day one leaves unable to believe with a sigh and OMG and sadness that overwhelms them till they see that huge mount of chocolate cake or a hot cup of coffee. Its better to escape this Demo(n)cracy at times...

  43. u r so brave to have gone through with this! frankly speaking i would have broken down if it were me in ur shoes! accurately written, the present situation is pretty bad especially for undertrials, so much for free legal aid and shit! wat is the point of all this, if the people dont even know about their rights or worse tehy never get the chance to assert these rights! :(

  44. Well.. I came looking for a tiger.. but this post proved to be a gem. I envy you, lady.

    - Vaisakh


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