After yoga, meditation, puppet shows and outdoor sports, it is now time for sermons in the Central
Jail, Tihar here.
The maximum security prison was virtually turned into and
ashram on Monday with two sanyasis delivering religious discourses to inmates and in an
attempt to inculcate spirituality and human values among the undertrials and convicts.
There is God inside me and you. By prayers
and recitation of the name of God you can lessen your suffering and sorrows. Swami
Jita Atamanand of the Ramakrishna Mission said amidst applause.
My guru taught me, hate the sin and not the
sinner the Swami said exhorting his congregation to serve fellow beings as God resided in
each one. The Swami told the prisoners they were in jail because of their
Nearly 1500 inmates of the jail, two hundred of them
women converged for the sermons.
It was a breakthrough in the humane manner of jail
administration, a new beginning for reforming the prisoners said Inspector General of
Prisons (Delhi) Kiran Bedi, who had mooted the idea of organizing sermons in the jail.
The topic was the universal religion of humanism.
No particular religion was discussed said Ms Bedi.
Mondays event had many firsts to its credit.
It was the first time when sermons were organized in
Male and female prisoners jointly congregated in the jail
for the first time.
| Press reporters were allowed for the first time deep inside Jail Number 1 to
enable them to cover the function.
Such discourses will become a regular feature from now
onwards Ms Bedi said. Earlier this month she had introduced the novel concept of yoga and
meditation in jail to alleviate stress and strain of the inmates while involving them in some
constructive activity. Three yoga teachers trained 30 prisoners who are now engaged in
imparting further training to other prisoners.
The Tihar Jail houses more than 8000 prisoners as against
its capacity of nearly one third this number. There has also been frequent reports of drug
peddling and rampant corruption in the jail. To improve the image of Tihar
Jail the high profile IG (Prisons) has taken a series of important decisions to turn the jail into
Outdoor sports like volleyball and badminton are being
organized by the jail staff for the first time. But all this under their watchful eyes.
Puppet shows have also been started since Sunday and are
going to be a regular feature according to Ms Bedi. Besides the prisoners are also given an
opportunity to watch televison and buy newpapers and magazines of their choice.
But there is no plan to introduce cable or satelllite
television in the jail as there is an overdose of sex and violence explained an