[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]
“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.
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.
About The Author –
His twitter handle is @tr_partha