New Delhi27 minutes agoAuthor: Mrityunjay Kumar
It is about the year 1911. A revolutionary named Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was brought to the Cellular Jail in Andaman. For many years while living in that small cell, Savarkar did not even get a clue that his real brothers were also locked in this jail. The prison was built in such a way that the prisoners remained completely unaware of each other.
There was a tower in the center of the island. Three storeyed 7 rows of cells were made adjacent to it. They are like the wheels of a bicycle. As the spokes come out of the round circle in the center of the bicycle and join the big round rim without being connected. This building was also built in the same way. These cells, 15 by 8 feet, had a skylight at a height of three meters, which opened towards the sea. Where the only escape was death.
The ‘family prison of the Nehru family’, where three generations lived
In 1884 another jail was opened at Naini in Allahabad. It is called the family prison of the Nehru family. It is sometimes jokingly said that the Nehru family spent more time in this jail than in Anand Bhawan. Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, his sister Vijay Laxmi Pandit, Indira Gandhi and her husband Feroze Gandhi were also lodged in this prison. Nehru, who had spent five times in this jail, wrote letters to Indira Gandhi from here, which later came in the form of the famous book ‘Pita Ke Patra Putri Ke Naam’.
today Republic day On this occasion, we are talking about those buildings of independent India in which thousands of stories are buried. These were the jails in which Gandhi, Nehru and Savarkar were lodged during the freedom movement. We will also learn how the East India Company converted forts and houses into prisons, how the country’s first Central Jail opened in Agra, and how, 170 years later, the Vijay Mallya case held Britain and its prison policy up to India. Shown.
There is a famous dialogue from the movie Sholay; In which Asrani, who became a jailer, proudly says – ‘We are the jailers of the British era’
The meaning of this dialogue of the film was that the British were considered masters in the work of making jails and locking people in them.
The British opened hundreds of jails as soon as they came to India.
In 1784, the East India Company got the right to rule India from the British monarchy. After which the company started building prisons on a large scale to maintain its rule and suppress any kind of rebellion. Some new jails were built while some old forts and havelis were converted into jails. In this early period of British rule, 143 civil jails, 75 criminal jails and 68 mixed jails had been opened in the country.
After coming to India, the British started building big jails. A time came when all the jails in the country were filled. In such a situation, the British felt the need for a new and bigger jail.
In 1789, the British first tried to establish a colony of prisoners in Andaman. Andaman was a group of sea islands 1400 km away from Kolkata, but this dream of British could not be fulfilled due to difficult weather and invasion of enemy countries.
In 1857 there were large-scale mutinies in the Indian barracks. Due to which the British sent the first batch of prisoners to Andaman within a year in 1858. The special thing was that till then there was not even a single jail brick lying on the entire Andaman Island. The British officers took shelter in tents and the prisoners were released in the open jungles. There was no possibility of his escape from there.
Andaman’s Cellular Jail was built by the prisoners living there with their own hands.
Such a jail that the prisoners built for themselves, the bricks came from Burma
Initially, the prisoners made huts of twigs and leaves to protect themselves from the rain and wild insects, but sea winds often blew these huts away and the prisoners had to live in the open. Due to which the prisoners started getting sick and dying on a large scale.
In 1896, 38 years after the arrival of the prisoners, the British decided to build a prison building in Andaman. For this bricks were brought from Burma. The prisoners themselves built a prison for themselves. In this way, the famous Cellular Jail of Andaman was built in 1906 for Rs 5 lakh.
Cellular jail came from the word cell, barrack of many rooms
In prison parlance, a solitary room is called a cell. The specialty of the jail built in Andaman was that it had a small cell for each prisoner. Due to which it was named ‘Cellular Jail’.
The prison was built in 7 rows emanating from a center in such a way that the prisoners could not see anything outside and were completely alone.
Country’s first Central Jail opened in Agra
The East India Company had set up hundreds of small and large prisons to catch and fine its business opponents, but these prisons were not as high-walled as the current prisons. Somewhere some room and somewhere the old building had been converted into a jail.
In 1835, Lord Macaulay recommended that new and bigger prisons needed to be opened to maintain the system of prisons in India. Following the recommendation of this committee, the country’s first Central Jail was opened in Agra in 1848.
In 1837, a big jail was opened by the British in the then Madras also. It was one of the earliest planned prisons during the British rule. In 1855 it was given the status of Central Jail. Built at a cost of Rs 16,496, this jail used to house the prisoners sentenced to black water. Those who would later be sent to Mandalay Jail in Andaman or Burma.
British revolutionaries were also imprisoned in Naini Jail.
Allahabad used to be the main center of the freedom movement. In view of this, in the year 1884, the British made a Central Jail with a capacity of 3000 here. This jail was considered the second home of the revolutionaries. Most of the political prisoners were kept here.
The history of Naini Jail is quite interesting. British prisoners who fought for Indian independence were also kept here.
LC Ladley, PH Holden, Douglastor, IR Diamond, George Herold and Benjamin Francis were accused of singing ‘Vande Mataram’ along with Indian revolutionaries and participating in the independence movement. All were imprisoned in this jail. Even today the names of these British revolutionaries are written in Naini Jail.
JP and ran away with him by trapping this jail of Hazaribagh. Later this prison was named after him.
JP escaped from jail by climbing 17 feet wall
Jayaprakash Narayan was lodged in Hazaribagh Central Jail during the ‘Quit India Movement’. By this time all the prominent leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru had been arrested. In such a situation, JP and his comrades who were in jail decided to come out and lead the movement.
November 9, 1942 was the night of Diwali. JP and his 5 companions escaped by scaling a 17 feet high wall with the help of 56 dhotis. When the British got the news after 9 hours, JP and his companions had gone far away from Hazaribagh. After which the British declared a reward of 10 thousand rupees for catching JP alive or dead.
At present, a girls school is running in this building of the historic jail. A jail in the name of JP has been made apart from it.
Sirajuddaulah locked 146 Englishmen in a 14 feet room, only 23 survived
A sad incident of the jail is also associated with the British who built huge jails in India and imprisoned the revolutionaries. It is about the time when the British had come to India as traders. Once Sirajuddaulah, the Nawab of Bengal, got angry with the British on some issue.
In 1756, Sirajuddaulah decided to punish 146 Englishmen who were caught. Then there were no modern jails and barracks like today. In such a situation, the Nawab’s soldiers locked all the British in a room of 14 feet. Women were also involved in this. After keeping the small room closed overnight, when it was opened in the morning, only 23 Englishmen were found alive, but unconscious. Everyone else had died of suffocation.
The palace was converted into a prison for Gandhiji.
Gandhiji was arrested a total of 13 times during the freedom movement. It was not possible to keep them like ordinary prisoners in any other jail; On the other hand, the British also did not want Gandhiji to influence them by meeting other satyagrahis in jail. For this, during the ‘Quit India Movement’, Gandhi was arrested and imprisoned in the Aga Khan Palace in Pune.
To say it was a magnificent palace spread over 6.5 acres, but it was surrounded from all sides and converted into a prison. No one is allowed to come in or out without permission. Kasturba Gandhi was also kept in this palace jail along with Gandhiji. Two of Gandhi’s loved ones died in this jail. Kasturba Gandhi and Bapu’s associate Mahadev Desai. Now this palace jail has been converted into a museum. Here is the Samadhi of Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai.
When Vijay Mallya showed the mirror to master British in making jail
The CBI has been trying for a long time to extradite businessman Vijay Mallya, who absconded with thousands of crores of rupees from Indian banks. After losing all the arguments in the British court, Vijay Mallya said that the condition of Indian jails is very pathetic, if he is kept there, it will violate his human rights. In response to this, the CBI told the British court that most of the jails in India were built by the British government. The British Court or Vijay Mallya had no answer to this.
History of freedom struggle written in jail
During the freedom movement, the revolutionaries did not have enough time to write books. In such a situation, when he was put in jail, he used to raise the flame of freedom with the help of books and letters. During the freedom struggle, almost all the important books were written in jails. Fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Bhagat Singh wrote books while in jail. Bhagat Singh wrote 4 books during his stay in jail for just 2 years. His last book was completed just a few days before his execution.
You know the story of British prisons. Also know the stories of English brutality, which happened in jails with freedom fighters. Many prisons of the British era have now been converted into museums, some have been converted into hospitals and some have also been converted into schools. But most of the jails are still functioning in the same form. Even though the days of the jailers of the British era are over, but the jails of the British era are still intact.
Graphics: Satyam Parida
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