BHOPAL: Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s famous words 'Paap se ghrina karo, paapi se nahi' (Hate the sin and not the sinner), convicted inmates of Narsinghpur Central Jail in Madhya Pradesh are writing 'Letters of Forgiveness' to families of those who fell prey to crimes committed by them.
More than 200 inmates of the jail who are undergoing varied jail sentences after being convicted in murder, rape, drug smuggling and other criminal cases have already written letters to those who lost loved ones due to the crime committed by them.
The ‘Letter of Forgiveness’ mission which marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi started on Diwali and is slowly gathering momentum among all convicted inmates of the jail, which houses around 1000 inmates.
The letters mention about the crime committed by them making their every night an amavasya (darkest night) and their inner conscience and guilty conscious feeling prompting to write the letters to families who are victims of crime committed by them.
“We started this initiative on Diwali to tell families who fell prey to our crime that while everyone cleans dirt from their house on Diwali, we’ve started cleaning our inner self by not only repenting for the crime committed by us but also saying sorry from our heart to those whose lives were plunged into darkness due to our acts,” said a murder convict lodged at the jail.
Another murder convict, added, “if these letters strike a chord with those for whom it’s written, it would help us live harmoniously as austere citizens with everyone in the society after completing the jail term.”
“Many of the letters of forgiveness have already been posted to the victim families with a fervent hope that those families might have lit diyas (lamps) of forgiveness for us in their hearts,” said an inmate convicted in an NDPS Act case.
According to Narsinghpur Central Jail Superintendent Shephali Tiwari (who is the prime mind behind the initiative), “Anyone who has committed crime deserves an opportunity to plead forgiveness. Our country has emotional and forgiving people for which this initiative has been started to ensure that after the convict serves the jail term for the crime, he should get chance to live harmoniously in the society sans any bitterness.”
She added that the initiative which marks Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations is now also seeing under trials and convict inmates at the Jail, writing to their own families similar letters containing pledge of having quit all bad habits and never taking to crime again.