Jail, Gender and Janmashtami (I)

[Starting today in the series “My Caged Life”, Tr Parthasarathy of SIF-Hyd presents his experience of jail and talks about a new initiative by his NGO.

You can share your story using ‘Contact Me’ section on this website.

Read all stories in this series – Here]

Part 1

Tr Partha“Many years ago in 2004, I found myself sitting on a hard bench in the small front room of the Women’s Police Station opposite Public Gardens, Hyderabad. There was a Brahmakumaris’ calendar hanging to a solitary nail in the wall. Some inspirational message on it said something about courage and truth, the only words that registered in my mind. My parents and my uncle sat next to me.

The woman constable asked me to enter the inner room. What followed was a whole day of blatantly repeated and improvised lies by a woman I vaguely remembered as my legally wedded wife, sugar-coated by psychological pressure by the Inspector in-charge. I kept hanging on to the calendar’s words, not to relent under pressure. What followed was a well-rehearsed drama of talks and allegations that boggled my mind. I stood my ground, but my unwillingness to go to prison on ‘judicial remand’ kept me out of Central Prison for a month, but kept me in a constant state of agitation and fear of the unknown.

This drama was repeated in a different police station in Begumpet, Hyderabad more than a month later. This time, I knew exactly what to tell the police officer in-charge. ‘Sir, please arrest me, I will prove my innocence in Court’

Since that day, I never regretted my decision to visit Central Prison, given the circumstances. What was my crime, you would ask? I got married, that of all people, to a family court lawyer. That was my crime worthy of a few days in Prison and a lifetime in courts.

There was a choice for me, negotiate in a Police Station, with the proverbial sword of arrest hanging on my neck, or go to prison and later face the pain of a prolonged trial. Since that day in 2004, I met many men who came for counsel in varying stages of distress, brought about by the crime of being married. Many had succumbed to the extortionist laws of the Marriage-Bail-Maintenance-Alimony industry, but many stood their ground.”

Every man has a choice, sometimes painful, nonetheless, still a choice. And this choice becomes more acceptable when we take our train of thought through its logical course.

Sif-Hyd Press Meet
Sif-Hyd press meet on Jail, Gender and Janmashtami

As one of the counselors of SaveIndianFamily-Hyderabad (SIF-Hyd) and all India helpline operator on SIF-ONE #882498498, I have counseled hundreds of men trapped in matrimonial litigation and being forced to shell out their life’s savings or liquidating family properties to avoid the shame of going to jail. Millions of rupees are being spent on the bail industry which also thrives on the fear of arrest.

For a career criminal or for serious crimes, it might be justifiable, but for ordinary innocent men, fear of arrest stems out of real consequences like loss of job, business & reputation and social ostracism. Many give-in to suicide and the mainstream media is eager to write them off as ‘having financial troubles’. Many experience loss of reputation and career and business, humiliation, fear and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Already lakhs of men and women have gone to prison on ‘judicial custody’ and later acquitted as innocent in #fakecases under matrimonial laws such as IPC 498A, CrPC 125 etc., Thousands of men are also languishing in overcrowded prisons in India as under-trials. In addition, with the coming to light of media sensationalized cases like Rohtak sisters and Jasleen Kaur and the proper abuse of Sexual Molestation and Rape Laws, it is becoming clear that more and more innocent young men, in their prime, many reputations are going to be pulled down by lynch mobs.

Framed in legal issues, and defamed even prior to court trial by TV channels like Times Now, it would be a humane service to men, including Shri Arnab Goswami to prepare for the upcoming shock and trauma. SIF-Hyd proposes that a voluntary self-imprisonment experience should be made available to all adult males on the lines of yoga & meditation. Also, we can encourage these men to apply their professional expertise to improve the quality of prison reform system. This will also encourage a healthy spiritual and social development of humanity and furthermore it will ensure that prisons and jails also benefit from a two way interaction.

Tr Parthasarathy talking about this initiative

[Next

***

About The Author

Tr Partha Normal Parthasarathy TR is a time traveler, men’s rights activist, counselor, 498A & family court survivor, mechanical engineer and blogger at wordkatana.blogspot.in.

His twitter handle is @tr_partha

****

Advertisements

7 comments

  1. […] It was mid-day and the April sun was sharp against my face. I was the last of the prisoners to enter the courtyard. It was hexagonal with a small room near the centre.  A big man in a prison uniform looked at me and told everyone to pick up a plate. When my turn came, there were no plates left. I was terrified at the thought of asking him. The inmate looked at me like I was a cockroach. Then he uttered a “$@%8#.. andar se pilate le” (“Get a plate from inside”) and pointed to a small dusty room with an open door. I went inside and found a few bent food plates with dust and dried grime on it. I picked up the least dirty one. This one looked like it was greased with tar. I took the plate and wandered out of the hexagon into where I saw the last man disappear. It opened into a bigger courtyard with lots of trees and barracks building on the right, with a few men sitting outside and looked at me as if I was a foreign tourist. I probably had that look of a lost boy on my face.  I looked around for the least intimidating looking man and approached him with caution. I was not sure if I should talk to him first. He asked me if I had any cigarettes with me. I told him I don’t. He scowled at me as if I had a rabid infection and after a pause, gestured at my plate and told me to clean it near a cemented water tank. Thus began the longest plate cleaning exercise of my life. In part I was relieved I had something to do. I poured some water on and used some detergent powder that I found next to the tap. It barely even cleaned the caked dust.  I picked up some sand and tried to scrub off the tar. I saw it make some progress. I wondered if they had sandpaper supply in prison. That was the engineer in me thinking. I scrubbed and scrubbed till the skin of my hands showed signs of peeling off. The final result still had some black tar in a thin layer. With sweat pouring down my face, I could see lines of metal after my engineering feat. I prepared myself mentally to eat off the plate if I was going to be here forever. I looked up to see a thin young man looking at me intently. He looked amused at what I was doing. He said “Bhaijaan, usko pheko. Khane ka wakat, mere pilate le lo, baad me accha wala doondh ke dunga” (“Brother, leave that plate, you may use my plate during meal-time, I will find you a better one later”). Something about his gesture was reassuring, because I felt I was going to be here for a long long time. I kept imagining, no, I was sure that my family stopped trying to get me out on bail, though I did not have much understanding of that concept then. That evening I was sitting on my own, trying to avoid ‘the hardened criminals’, imagining all sort of sordid things that might happen to me. The same boy set up a carrom board game and asked me to play with him along with two others. The second day of prison was spent like this, listening to their life stories. The next morning I kept listening to the loudspeaker announcements that listed out names for release on bail granted or visitation ‘Rihae or Mulaqat‘. My name or number did not come up, but my new friend came back from somewhere, called me by name and asked me to report to the Superintendent’s office for release procedure and to hurry. He did not even wait for me to thank him. I had a lot of time to reflect on that in the years to come. I do not remember his name, lost in the hardened faces I tried to remember during the three days of ‘judicial remand’. I have forgotten the names, I have forgotten the faces, but I will remember the kindness and the concern the inmates showed me those three days, something I didn’t find in all the people who pretend to uphold law, justice and fairness in the days that led up to prison and hence. Today, I commemorate the Prison Experience Day with my thanks to the inmates, their kindness and humanity that is lost in the ‘fair and just outside world’. Today, I wish the humanity in them with my #SelfieInPrison initiative […]

    Like

  2. […] It was mid-day and the April sun was sharp against my face. I was the last of the prisoners to enter the courtyard. It was hexagonal with a small room near the centre.  A big man in a prison uniform looked at me and told everyone to pick up a plate. When my turn came, there were no plates left. I was terrified at the thought of asking him. The inmate looked at me like I was a cockroach. Then he uttered a “$@%8#.. andar se pilate le” (“Get a plate from inside”) and pointed to a small dusty room with an open door. I went inside and found a few bent food plates with dust and dried grime on it. I picked up the least dirty one. This one looked like it was greased with tar. I took the plate and wandered out of the hexagon into where I saw the last man disappear. It opened into a bigger courtyard with lots of trees and barracks building on the right, with a few men sitting outside and looked at me as if I was a foreign tourist. I probably had that look of a lost boy on my face.  I looked around for the least intimidating looking man and approached him with caution. I was not sure if I should talk to him first. He asked me if I had any cigarettes with me. I told him I don’t. He scowled at me as if I had a rabid infection and after a pause, gestured at my plate and told me to clean it near a cemented water tank. Thus began the longest plate cleaning exercise of my life. In part I was relieved I had something to do. I poured some water on and used some detergent powder that I found next to the tap. It barely even cleaned the caked dust.  I picked up some sand and tried to scrub off the tar. I saw it make some progress. I wondered if they had sandpaper supply in prison. That was the engineer in me thinking. I scrubbed and scrubbed till the skin of my hands showed signs of peeling off. The final result still had some black tar in a thin layer. With sweat pouring down my face, I could see lines of metal after my engineering feat. I prepared myself mentally to eat off the plate if I was going to be here forever. I looked up to see a thin young man looking at me intently. He looked amused at what I was doing. He said “Bhaijaan, usko pheko. Khane ka wakat, mere pilate le lo, baad me accha wala doondh ke dunga” (“Brother, leave that plate, you may use my plate during meal-time, I will find you a better one later”). Something about his gesture was reassuring, because I felt I was going to be here for a long long time. I kept imagining, no, I was sure that my family stopped trying to get me out on bail, though I did not have much understanding of that concept then. That evening I was sitting on my own, trying to avoid ‘the hardened criminals’, imagining all sort of sordid things that might happen to me. The same boy set up a carrom board game and asked me to play with him along with two others. The second day of prison was spent like this, listening to their life stories. The next morning I kept listening to the loudspeaker announcements that listed out names for release on bail granted or visitation ‘Rihae or Mulaqat‘. My name or number did not come up, but my new friend came back from somewhere, called me by name and asked me to report to the Superintendent’s office for release procedure and to hurry. He did not even wait for me to thank him. I had a lot of time to reflect on that in the years to come. I do not remember his name, lost in the hardened faces I tried to remember during the three days of ‘judicial remand’. I have forgotten the names, I have forgotten the faces, but I will remember the kindness and the concern the inmates showed me those three days, something I didn’t find in all the people who pretend to uphold law, justice and fairness in the days that led up to prison and hence. Today, I commemorate the Prison Experience Day with my thanks to the inmates, their kindness and humanity that is lost in the ‘fair and just outside world’. Today, I wish the humanity in them with my #SelfieInPrison initiative […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s