Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chennai Central Prison

This particular write up is the wish of my friend Srinivasan and I am writing it on his asking.

They say that it’s a free world and everyone who lives in it is an embodiment of the freedom that it symbolizes, but on 06/03/09 I really felt what it would be like to not to be free. Central prison is synonymous with the freedom that one loses, when the protocols of a civilized society is breached.

 On 6th of March I and my friend visited the dilapidated Chennai prison which has been open for a while now for the visitors, its one of the few places on earth that nobody would ever want to visit but me and my friend had other ideas. Before getting inside the prison the feeling inside me was one of apprehension, I don’t know why but it might be because I dint know what to expect to see. We went to the prison just to see how it would be like from the inside but we came out wondering that this place could be the height of cruelty that life can throw upon a person. Every wall had a story to tell, we saw walls that carried the paintings of different religious symbols, telling the stories of poor souls who prayed for their sins to be pardoned and we also saw many other walls that carried the ugliness of human mind as well.  

 One particular drawing done by an inmate struck me, the drawing was about different kinds of knifes and swords used by miscreants, blood was shown dripping from the edges of the swords next to it was a mans head, I could only imagine the kind of life the people who lived within those walls might have lived in the outer world, I saw words of abuses, names, dates, messages, serial numbers all scribbled across the walls. The prison looked quite old and I was told that it was made empty in 2007, but just recently the government decided to keep it open for the visitors.

 I was quite curious about the architectural style of the prison, the old way of truss roofing and arched entrances kept me inquisitive enough to google and I was surprised to find out that Chennai central prison was opened in 1837.  The place which housed many of our freedom fighters during the time when the freedom movement was at its pinnacle, later on became the place what every civil society would not want to boast about. 

-Photo by Prasanna kumar

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