THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ask him about Barack Hussein Obama, Osho Rajneesh or ISRO former chairman G Madhavan Nair, Velayudhan has an opinion of his own. He will interpret Bible, Quran or Bhagavad Gita with relative ease.
To cap it all, Velayudhan, a 47-year-old prisoner in Nettukaltheri Open Jail, has penned around 80 short stories. K A Velayudhan had never been to school and was illiterate when he was sent to prison in 2001. But during his jail term, he read hundreds of books ranging from fiction to philosophy.
Velayudhan was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment in August 2001 for killing his wife. He was first sent to the Central Prison, Viyyur and then to the Poojappura Central Prison following his request. “It was during my life in prison that I started learning to read and write. The welfare officer in Poojappura prison inspired me. There were around 14,000 books in the prison library and I read as much as I could,” said Velayudhan, who was met by Express as part of a study about the educational reforms in prisons.
Velayudhan passed the fourth standard parity exam with cent percent marks and is now preparing for the seventh standard parity exam.
Learning had the right impact on Velayudhan as he is now a refined person. Now Velayudhan is mature enough to admit that he was addicted to drinking, which eventually led him to commit the crime about which he repents each moment.
“If I was not here, I would have been dead by now, out of drinking. Life here enabled me to have a different perspective about life. Learning life is a pleasure. As Osho had said, happiness is in silence and we have to look into our own selves to experience that feeling ,” Velayudhan said.
Many of his short stories had been published in various magazines. He had won the award of ‘Jesus Fraternity’ for eight consecutive years for the best short story that appeared in the prison’s weekly ‘Thadavarayude Sangeetham’.
Velayudhan’s only wish is to get his works published in the form of a book. This is to mobilise money to build a home for his children who are with his brother at his ancestral home in Chalakkudy. Velayudhan had not been given parole in spite of the continuous good conduct reports from prison authorities. It was seven months back that he was shifted to the open prison, a reward for his good conduct.