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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Different strokes

Now that the Sanjay media brigade has shifted to Pune’s Yerawada prison, there could be more of this ‘variety being the spice of prison life’ reporting, says V Gangadhar.

india Updated: Aug 07, 2007 01:16 IST
V Gangadhar
V Gangadhar

Having read carefully the millions of words which appeared in the Mumbai print media on Sanjay Dutt’s conviction and first night in jail I am in a state of confusion. There seems to be no unanimity on any issue.

For instance, what kind of cell was Sanjay lodged in? What was his initial reaction as he was driven to Arthur Road prison. Read on and you will share my confusion: Sanjay Dutt was kept in the same cell as Abu Salem, Pravin Mahajan

Sanjay was kept in an “anda” meant for dangerous criminals. He was put in a small cell in Barrack 1. Sanjay was in Barrack 1, 10, 11, 16.He was lodged in Buddha cell meant for aged inmates.

On his way to jail, Sanjay wept for 30 minutes. Later, he cheered up, chatted and cracked jokes with the guards.

He smoked continuously. He smoked five cigarettes. He smoked cigarettes given to him by his guards.
Initially he refused to wear prison uniform.

Ultimately, changed his jeans and shirt for a white kurta and pyjama after being persuaded by Jail Superintendent, Swati Sathe. There was similar confusion over what he had for dinner on his first night in prison, and for breakfast the next morning. The newspapers really went into overdrive and there was so much diversity on the prison reporting. Who was right, who was nearly right and who was wrong? Your guess is as good as mine:At first, Sanjay refused to eatanything. Later accepted “maska pav” from fellow prisoner. Sanjay had an apple.

Had dinner comprising three chapattis, one vegetable, dal and rice. Spent a sleepless night.

The morning after and thereafter brought further examples of similar reports: Up at 5.30 am, had tea at 6.30 am.Milk and banana at 7.30.Poha for breakfast at 7 30. Had fruit for breakfast after refusing boiled eggs. Lunch at 11.30 am, consisting of roti, dal, rice and one vegetable. Tea at 4 pm. Dinner at 6 pm, the same menu as lunch.

A Sarvodaya organisation has asked Sanjay to be its brand ambassador for Gandhigiri.

So much for Sanjay’s first night and then the next day. Going by media reports, Sanjay could have serious weightproblems if was eating all the stuff mentioned in the media.

Now that the Sanjay watching media brigade had to shift to Pune’s Yerawada prison there could be more of this ‘variety being the spice of prison life’ reporting. I am waiting to read what kind of hard labour awaits Sanjay at Yerawada. The media is certain to mention that Sanjay tried his hand at cooking, carpentry, washing utensils, stitching and knitting, a bit of gardening, ironing clothes, book binding, brick making and everything else.

First Published: Aug 07, 2007 01:07 IST