In Shimla prisoners serving life-term start Café-library and thus attract readers for whom books open up a world of new hope and positivity. Prisoner reformation in its new avatar is something we must widely replicate.
Kabir |The New Leam
Prison reform is of utmost importance if we really are to transform the minds of criminals who are spending their designated terms in the jail. The ambiance of the prison is often where brutalities, abuses, violence and torture become the norm of interaction both between inmates and with jail authorities too. However, what any sensible mind would realize is that in such an ambiance inner transformation is not possible at least at a deep existential level. Without the sense of love, the ethic of care and an opportunity for the cultivation of trust and mutual respect how is it possible for a prisoner to realize his crime and hope to live a beautiful life? When the environment is suited to trust, love and care then transformation is possible. This idea was recently brought to practice in Shimla. In a place that is best known as a tourist destination where visitors from near and far flock the landscape something of immense radical importance has come to light.
Yes, two prisoners serving life terms Yograj and Subhas started this endeavor to initiate a process of heart transformation by opening a café library where several books on various themes find place.
The library started off in April 2017 and today attracts many youngsters and avid readers. The warmth that hearing about an initiative of this kind generates almost instantly diminishes the freezing chill of the ambience. The library is also joined by a café where one gets all the things starting from cookies to pizzas and coffee and tea. The theme was conceptualized by the Himachal Pradesh prison department and is an enterprise meant to contribute towards the reformation of prisoners.
The library has over 457 books. Most of these books have gradually been donated by authors, local residents and tourists from places as far as the southern parts of India. The library-cafe offers amenities such as free WiFi, a Kindle for e-book readers and hundreds of books and magazines to cater to readers with varied tastes and preferences. The beautiful and appealing mountain landscape along with the availability of so many books on a wide range of themes ranging from history, literature, competitive examination sample papers to fiction/non-fiction titles and magazines have mad the café-library a sought after destination for the young and old alike.
Students come here in large numbers and some of them feel that the library should have more books on competitive exams so as to help them crack exams that they may be studying for.
The café and its ambiance have fast gained so much popularity and love that now every week there are book discussions and meetings where people from the fields of literature and history to those who simply love to read are meet. The creation of this unique prisoner reformation program really must be appreciated and word about it must be spread across widely. When prisoners engage in this process they will gain an immense sense of self-dignity and this will enable them to see their own potential beyond the stigmatisation Here there is no brutality, no violence but books as the ultimate window to the world. Here, prisoners are given a chance to rediscover themselves and this is the ultimate chance that they can ever imagine to get. The story of the Shimla book café is thus one of hope and immense positivity. It must be replicated in many different ways.