The enterprising Gujarat state and Ahmedabad sets a great example of how Jail inmates could be involved and rehabilitated by manufacturing high-quality products and by bringing it under a good brand name. The name Uday translates as – To rise.
My friend and I, during our recent visit to Ahmedabad city, discovered a nondescript shop at the RTO circle selling hot and awesome Bhajiyas (fried fritter goodies). While chatting with the person selling, we realized that the man behind the counter was a Head Constable of Police, and all the serene looking folks cooking and serving us were inmates of the Sabarmati Central Jail. This was a great opportunity for me to look into their eyes, shake hands with them and sense the human side of what we perceive in the society as criminals or convicts.
The Shop also sells bakery, snack items, and soaps under the brand name Uday, and I found the quality of these products really good. I plan to do a larger purchase.
I visited the place multiple times and we received warm welcome and acknowledgement of how we loved the concept and the place. Due to government restrictions, I could not click any photographs of the place, however I clicked the products once i was back home at my desk.
We came to know some interesting facts about the place from the hotel we were put-up nearby, and locals. We were wondering how is the place not having high walls and if they are not wary of the inmates escaping. We were told some interesting facts:
1. There have been hardly any attempts by the inmates to flee. Maybe because they have dignified work given to them, which would be difficult to get if they escape.
2. They are known to go walking between the workplace and Jail without too much security. I did not verify this, however it was quite something to think and imagine!
3. One of the inmates, post release, started a restaurant in the vicinity and is doing great business. We visited the place too and found great hope and positive influence of the initiative.
4. There was a story told where an inmate Polevaulted over the 20ft wall of the jail and went straight home. His mother took him and brought him back to the police 🙂
Among the many wonderful experiences we had in Ahmedabad. This was something very different and heartening.