Since the Salman Khan’s bail and Jayalalithaa’s aquittal from the judiciary in the past month has made one only question if the judiciary is indeed impartial or the powerful can anyway get off with doing anything. After the Salman Khan’s bail for which the judge went an extra length, I felt disgusted. His fans doing dhara for his bail and things like that, makes one wonder are people so blind folded to the crimes committed by their ‘stars’.
Anyway witnessing this extreme from the judiciary reading this book ‘Colours of the Cage’ by Arun Ferreira reveals the realities of prison for a poor or a man with little access to legal aid.
I have been reading the news on his case since early 2010s. This book is an account of all that he went through his incarceration. A four and half years of prison for voicing against the injustice done to the marginalised. What is remarkable about this book is the unsentimental account of it. I am sure the author must have gone through a lot of agony both physically and mentally through his time in the prison, but he chooses to dwell a lot less on them than on an objective description of the happenings in the prisons he was put in.
His narration of appalling living conditions of prisons, the politics within the prison and how things move in the judiciary with respect to all the cases he is charged in throws light on ‘how things work’ with Indian police and the judiciary system. But, his accounts on other prisoners like Kithulal makes one feel helpless and sad for these people. Kithulal a farm labor ‘ who was convicted for the murder of a small boy who died by accidental consuming pesticide Kithulal used for his crop’. As Kithulal could not afford proper defence, he had spent more than 15 years in prison.
As much as I believe ‘ equality’ is not the nature’s way of things, but I also think it is imperative that we try to ensure at least the most basic of necessities for life anywhere is available to all. In the case of prisons , access to legal aid will be also part of the necessities list.