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25 Jun 2022, Edition - 2538, Saturday

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Success behind bars – Part 2



What a polite approach by a person who was branded a criminal a few years back. Transformation won’t come from outside, you have to start it from within. Sivam is a living example of this. A flashback shows a school boy who picked a quarrel with his neighbours. During the altercation the neighbour’s daughter ran in between and stumbled on a stone nearby. Since it was a head injury and the girl was only six years old, she succumbed to the wounds on the way to the Pollachi Government Hospital.

After a long legal battle, the judgment was pronounced – “Eight years’ imprisonment taking into account the situation and the tender age of the accused.” After admission into the prison, Sivam was reluctant to mingle with others and participate in prison programmes for some time.

It was the welfare officer’s motivational quote that changed Sivam’s life: “Try to feel alright even when everything goes wrong.”

The next day onwards Sivam started going to the prison school and finished his schooling. During the weekly inspection, on seeing Sivam the Jail Superintendent told the welfare officer, “Why don’t we try a new best prison practice by getting him admission in a law college”? After that day, everything was favourable to Sivam and he also rose to the occasion. He was even allowed to go to college without escort.

A separate hall with lighting facility was provided to him so that he could concentrate on his studies without disturbance. A local NGO provided him a bicycle to travel from jail to the college. He got his law degree and started helping inmates to get out of the clutches of the law.

Suddenly all the prisoners rose and said “Vanakkam” to the Jailor. Sivam requested the Jailor, “Sir, can you allow me to talk to the newly admitted inmates?” The Jailor welcomed his intention and Sivam addressed the group of new inmates in a positive tone: “Friends. Two men looked out through the same prison bars, one saw mud and the other saw stars. Now it is your turn to choose from the wise saying of Frederick Langbridge.”

At this juncture, a man with a painting approached the Jailor. “Sir, may I give this picture to Sivam for his positive attitude and the help rendered by him to poor inmates?” The Jailor curiously placed the painting on the table. It showed an accused with handcuffs escorted by the police approaching the Jail Main gate; on the other side, the same accused comes out of the prison gate free, a degree certificate in his hands and a positive expression. The footnote on the picture read: “Dedicated to all who help to reform and resocialise.”

The gate opens for the morning release.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own

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