BHOPAL: Established two years ago to usher happiness into the lives of people, the ‘Happiness Department’ of Madhya Pradesh government is now reforming history-sheeters with the formula: take a pause, talk to yourself and make self as well as others happier.
The Rajya Anand Sansthan, India’s first ‘happiness department’, recently organised a three-day training workshop for 44 listed criminals and history-sheeters of Bhopal district, where they were trained in how to remain happier and make others happier with the process of ‘Alpviram’.
A group of master trainers trained at the Initiatives of Change Trust at Panchgani (Maharashtra) spent three days with these men whose images still adorn the ‘rogues gallery’ of various police stations in Bhopal district.
At the workshop, these history-sheeters who have been arrested in murder cases and under NDPS Act were inspired not only to make themselves and their loved ones happier but to also make others happier.
“Though we’ve left our criminal past far behind, it still continues to haunt our present, making us live as pariahs among the commoners. When we got the invite to attend the workshop, we thought it was a joke. But the engrossing three days at the workshop has made us believe that we can not only live with our families happier but also instilled in us the confidence to make others happier,” said a middle-aged man, who now drives an auto-rickshaw to eke out living for the family.
According to the department’s director Pravin Gangrade, when Bhopal DIG Dharmendra Choudhary proposed the higher-ups the programme to reform the 44 history-sheeters, it seemed a big challenge. But once at the workshop, things were totally different, as these history-sheeters were just like 50,000 people trained in happiness by us over the last two years.
“These men now earn a living by working at day jobs or driving vehicles. They were apprehensive that if they attended the camp, they would lose three days’ income, but the staff members at the department assured to compensate them for their livelihood loss. Once they were with us, the experience at the camp made them forget about the livelihood loss,” said Gangrade.
All these men stayed at the same centre where other camp visitors have stayed in the past. They were inspired by the real-life experiences of our master trainers. “These men shared their own experiences to inspire other members at the camp,” said another staff of the happiness department.
One of the men who attended the camp said the ‘Alpviram’ formula has made him take a resolve of helping victims of drug abuse to quit.