Sprawling over 50,000 square feet, a garden filled with neem, amla, and fruit trees adorns the Luksar jail premises. According to the jail authorities, the garden, labour of more than eight months, was developed to create a space for inmates where they could relax and calm their nerves.
Vipin Mishra, superintendent, Luksar jail said the “meditation garden”, developed by the inmates, offers an environment to the prisoners where their feelings of fatigue, anxiety can be soothed. “Apart from its green field, the garden has a pond with a few ducks and a statue of Gautama Buddha. The serene environment of the garden, inspired by the philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi and Buddha, has created a space for the inmates where they can meditate in peace. This, in turn, can help in reducing their psychological distress and trauma. This meditation garden is also aiding the spiritual well-being of the prisoners,” he said.
The superintendent said that the idea of the garden was conceived by jailor Satya Prakash and him in January. “We discussed the idea with the inmates. Surprisingly, some convicts came forward to support it, and later put their wholehearted efforts into developing the garden. We along with other jail staff guided them, and took care of the expenses from our own pockets, ” Mishra said.
Work on the garden inside Luksar jail, which houses 2,738 inmates, started in the first week of January and the garden was completed earlier this month.
An undertrial prisoner, Dinesh (single name) said that sitting and meditating in the garden, christened as an ‘ashram (monastery)’ has had a positive impact on his health. “Now, I don’t have problems like headache and stomach ache. I feel that by sitting there, I’ve become more honest, and speaking the truth gives me satisfaction,” he said.
Similar experiences were shared by other inmates who often meditate in the garden. “I suffer less stress now. A sense of benevolence and compassion has come in me towards my co-inmates and jail officials too,” said another undertrial, who did not wish to be named.
The garden has more than 50 trees and shrubs of pomegranate, neem, amla, plums, papayas, guava among others apart from different varieties of flowers.
Jailor Satya Prakash said, “I regularly spend a few hours in the garden. It has increased my dedication to my duty. We have seen positive changes in the behaviour of many inmates, and we feel more compassion towards them now. After all, the concept of jail is to reinforce corrective behaviour in inmates,” he said.
The Luksar jail, which has two wings named after Gandhi and Buddha, also houses a library for inmates apart from training institutes.
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