Life in a prison
A ray of golden touch
Department Of Education
Ramakrishna Sarada Mission Vivekananda Vidyabhavan
Keyword: Prison, Prisoner, Cultural Therapy, Inmates
Once GayatriChakrabartySpivac said, if you destroy culture, you are actually destroying civilisation. Culture manifested or revealed the delicate parts of our brain and mind. With culture a man becomes a human being. Without it human civilisation would become a lifeless mechanical world where there will be no colour.
There are so many definitions of culture. One of the most comprehensive definitions of the term culture was provided by the British anthropologist Edward Tylor. He defined culture as that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.1Culture is moral, intellectual and spiritual discipline for advancement, in accordance with the norms and values based on accumulated heritage. It is imbibing and making ours own, the life style and social pattern of the group one belongs to. Culture is a collective heritage learned by individuals and passed from one generation to another. The individual receives culture as part of social heritage and in turn, may reshape the culture and introduce changes which then become part of the heritage of succeeding generations.Music, dance, painting sculpture, architectural works etc. are the forms of culture which play a very affective role in society.
If we look into its characteristics, we can say its a beautiful way of living life; a very ordinary life can become colourful. It is a human product; it is originated by pupil or individual from within. You cannot force someone to draw a perfect picture or createmusic. But you can change a person by the help of culture. Today I will tell you the story of some special persons whose life has stopped for them but the golden ray touched them and their flow of life find a new trace.I met many of them personally, took their interview, listened their story and feel the power of culture. So this paper mainly written on the basis of my research and experience.
Though education and culture are very much related to each other, but there are some basic differences too. In my opinion education take a little more time to fulfil its aims, whereas culture effects our mind rapidly; because it works directly. There is no need of past experience. If you dont know certain languages, then also you can enjoy music. If you are a learned person or not, you can mesmerized by a beautiful painting or sculpture. There is no age limit for feel the beat of a rhythm of dancing. So language, education, social status, money, age nothing can stop you. And this is the speciality of culture has make the Cultural Therapy for prisoner much more successful.
We all know that life in a prison is most distressing and humiliating. Prison life makes a person more depressed, more mentally sick. There are some men behind the cell are surely guilty, but there are so many unfortunate people who were just present in the wrong place in the wrong time and wereput behind bars. It has been observed nearly 50% of the people are on trial, waiting for judgement, year after year. Life has stopped for them.
Correctional home is a new name of jail or prison, but what is in a name!! Life was horrible there. Prisoners have to do some works allotted to them. These works were purely mechanical and tiring. Food was testless, sometimes cold, sometime stale. There was nothing positive in a prisoners life.
When Mr. B.D. Sharma was appointed as IG, correctional Home, the gloomy picture started to change gradually. He started thinking about how to make a prisoners life a little bit better and a wonderful idea flashed in his mind. In this initiative he got the support ofsome special personalitiesSmtAlakananda Roy- an eminent dancer, ChittoDey- an eminent artist, Jolly Mukherjee -a theatre artist, TapanRoy- Music teacher;they together initiated a plan and named it CULTARAL THERAPY. I had the privilege of personally meeting the first two teachers and their students, which no doubt was a lifetime experience for me.
The star of SmtAlakananda Roys troop was NizelAkara who was accused and arrested for kidnapping, robbery and murder. Total 18 cases were filed against him. He and his cellmates first performed in a small drama in Precidency correctional Home Brotherhood BeyondBoundaries. The programme was a huge success. Then SmtAlakananda Roy selected BalmikiPratibha for her next programme and choseNizel as Balmiki and the rest is history. This programme has changed Nizels and other participants life forever. They first ever tasted the joy of freedom, the joy of success, the joy of appraisal and rejoiced the power of music and dance. When I met Nizel and Komol, Chandan, Gobindo in presidency correctional home and listened their story, their feelings, I was speechless.
Nizel was saying his story- before the first show, I was standing alone in the stage in RabindraSadan, in front of me thousands of chairs were empty then, and suddenly I felt a strange feeling inside me. When I was first asked to join this cultural therapy by IG and Alakananda Roy whom now I used to call ma, I thought it was a joke! They want to teach dance to a criminal, accused and arrested for murder? I refused. Then they started requesting me and tried to motivate me by giving promise for medical diet, which is very much tempting to every inmates. at last I agreed and join the dance class and today is the day I will perform in a stage like RabindraSadan in front of thousands people coming from every sphere of the society!!! I was feeling happy as well as frightened! The bell rang, the show started and I forgot everything. I forgot that I am Nizel, I forgot my past, I forgot all of my worry; Nizelwas nowhere, onlyBalmiki was there. After the show the whole audience gave us a standing ovation with continuous clap! My. The entire team of BalmikiPratibhas mind was changed forever. The words and the music of the dance drama was the true winner.
The same story continued withChittodas painting class. The colours not only coloured their hand, the effect of the colour therapy has changed their mind. In Dumdum central correctional home, TapanRoystarted music classes. Inmates, specially who came from remote places,were moretouched and started expressing their joy and sorrow with music.
The inmates, who took part in this cultural therapy, whatever the form may be– dance, music, drama, painting; weretransformed. Their perspective towards life, towards society, towards themselves, took an optimistic turn and a new life was opened for them.
i) Research finding from my PhD thesis
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For National Seminar on Education and Culture
Under sub-Theme (Education): Creativity, Culture and Education