Mahatma Gandhi spent many years in Yerwada Jail in Pune during the freedom struggle. Now it is the Gandhian principles of truth and non-violence which have entered the prison walls, more than five decades after his death.
A programme designed to spread Gandhian principles in Yerwada prison was introduced in Yerwada prison in 2002 by Asim Sarode, founder of Sahyog Trust. As a part of the programme, the prison inmates are taught Gandhian principles for one year and at the end of the year, they have to appear for an exam. Admission to the course is optional.
Four years after the initiation of the course, Sahyog Trust recently conducted a survey amongst the prison inmates to check the degree of awareness of Gandhian principles. The results of the survey were encouraging as 94 per cent expressed respect for Mahatma Gandhi. A whooping 77 per cent of them believed that social change can be brought about by love and friendship. Also, 66 per cent of them showed the willingness to apologise to the victim’s family and seek forgiveness from them.
Taking the Gandhian principles and ideas to the prisoners has led to a marked improvement in the discipline in the prison. According to the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police of the western region, Rajendra Dhamne, “the course has definitely contributed to maintenance of peace inside the prison. The number of violent incidents amongst the inmates has comparatively gone down.”
The result of the survey has given a boost to the Trust’s initiatives. It has also proved that even the so called criminals have a human side to them and in many cases they take to crime due to compelling circumstances. The course adopts a reformist approach to tackling crime in the society. In today’s times, when we are being ruled by money-power and muscle-power, such initiatives provide a ray of hope of a just and free society.
For more details, contact Mr. Asim Sarode on 9850821117