Stories that bloom inside prison walls
By Saritha S Balan | ENS | Published: 12th August 2013 12:00 PM |
“Detain my body, but you can’t imprison my mind.” Rap star Lowkey’s famous lines would suit some of the creative minds lodged in Kerala jails.
Jailil Mottitta Kathakal, ‘Stories that Budded in the Prison’, a collection of short stories penned by 32 inmates of various jails in the state, will be a milestone in the country which is woefully under-represented in the prison literature genre. The book, a brainchild of the Prisons Department, will be published by Poorna Publications, Kozhikode.
“The works published made it to the finals in a short story competition held for the inmates of 52 jails in the state, jointly conducted by the Prisons Department and Poorna,” said Alexander Jacob, the prisons DGP.
“Sixty entries were received and some of them were exceptional,” said Poorna Publications MD N E Manoharan. “Inmates of three central prisons, two open prisons, district jails and special sub-jails participated in the competition. Lissy, an inmate of Women’s Jail, Kannur, came first,” he said. The book will be released at the Women’s Jail, on August 11. Lissy will be honoured with a cash award.
An anthology of poems by C R Shaji, an inmate of the Central Prison Poojappura, was published by Aswasa Bhavan, Kottayam. The Bhavan is a rehabilitation centre for prisoners and their dependents who are abandoned by relatives. The Prisons Dept organises poetry, essay, and short story contests every year. “The contests are well attended, thanks to the state’s high literacy. On an average, 250 entries are received every year. We are happy to encourage their literary aspirations,” said Alexander Jacob.