Nothing can be more satisfying than channelising one’s energy in the best possible manner even in worst situations. A former clerk convicted of murder is just doing that in jail — making the fellow inmates literate!
Ved Parkash (31), a former clerk with State Bank of Patiala, killed a security guard over a small tiff on February 2, 2014. He was sentenced to 20-year jail on March 30, 2015. A bachelor of science (BSc), Parkash teaches Punjabi, Hindi and English to about 35 inmates from Monday to Friday. He has been given a room, where his students take notes.
“I want to forget the biggest mistake of my life that ruined everything. This exercise keeps me busy. Now, I am happy that some prisoners will walk out of the jail as literate. It was my aim of become a teacher. My family and relatives are also happy what I am doing,” he said.
Another inmate, Harbans Lal (30), a computer engineer, has also been giving tips on basic computer skills to some inmates. Lal was convicted under the NDPS Act, registered by Jalandhar police.
“I couldn’t even write my name in Punjabi. After landing in jail in 2016, I started learning Punjabi and can read and write now in the mother tongue,” said Gurmail Singh of Cheema Khurd village in Jalandhar.
Another inmate, Satish Kumar (20) of Jalandhar, booked in a robbery case, said, “I failed in Class 10 and quit schooling. I want to attain fluency in languages so that after completing my sentence of two years, I can continue my education to find a decent job and stay away from crime.”
“About 30 to 35% prisoners are illiterate in jail. When I joined, I thought it will be a great social contribution if the inamtes can be made literate. I even approached philanthropist SP Singh Oberoi, who donated computers and books for the jail library,” said jail superintendent Kulwinder Singh Thiara. He said a sum of ₹1 lakh was received last month to purchase new general knowledge books.
The jail authorities are also motivating the inmates to take exams. “This time, 42 inmates — 24 for Class 10 and 18 for Class 12 — will appear in the examination through the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). The exams will be held in Jail in mid-May,” jail officials said.