Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rajyotsava Celebrations at the Central Jail

Warm skies and a clear breeze, everything seemed perfect as we made our
way to the Central Jail on the outskirts of Bangalore on November 1st
2007. The occasion was the Rajyotsava celebrations taking place there. As
a part of the ‘We Care for You’ programme, several plays and songs were
being shown to the prisoners. LSC was putting up a play on Plea Bargaining
and RTI. In my four months with the LSC, I had only been part of
Ramnagaram trips and LLP’s. So, I was extremely excited with the prospect
of going to the prison to put up a play.

Upon reaching the prison, we were ushered in by guards and driven by jeep to
the main ground where the programme was taking place. Having been informed
of the entire programme on very short notice, we had not had much time to
prepare. On reaching backstage, we realized that we lacked a few necessary
props. So Vikas, Pranav and I went around to the other college groups
performing to borrow their props. After some convincing, they finally
agreed to let us borrow.

Ours was the first play performed and was a Kannada play set in a prison.
It tried to explain to the prisoners about the aspects of plea bargaining
and RTI through the conversations of the prisoners (played wonderfully by
Vikram, Vikas and Gauthaman). Varum Hallikeri played the legal aid lawyer,
Dipika and Ramya the defence and public prosecutor, Brunda played the
judge, Shruti the sister of the prisoner, I played the part of the jailer
as well as the narrator. However, the one who earned the most applause
from the audience was Pranav who played the chamber clerk. The entire
audience burst into applause and laughter the moment he began saying “CC…”
The entire play went off without a hitch (everyone remembered their
lines:)). After finishing, we had to sit through the rest of the
programme. Several colleges had put up plays, some performed songs. One
particular performance, a street play by BMS College was extremely good.
They conveyed a message about prisoners’ rights through a very well
enacted play.

Songs (Vikram’s jingle about plea bargaining in particular:)), dances and
even a very memorable skit about a drunk, overall it was a very enjoyable
experience. Though it was the prospect of visiting jail that spurred me to
be a part of the play in the first place, the experience proved to be very
satisfying experience and I hope to get more chances to do something like
this in the future.

Nishita (I)