Faiz Akram Pasha: A young crusader of prisoners’ reforms

BANGALORE -   “The world of prisoners is different. The psychological problems, changing mind-set, family issues, education, economy and social stigma of both the inmates and their families do kill them every day.  Many of the inmates are first timers and accidental criminals, many are in because of lack of legal knowledge, many more are in due to lack of legal assistance.  Women prisoners are worst affected due to existing social practices. Deceased Murtuza becomes Mrutyunjaya here and hence gets cremated here.” says Faiz Akram Pasha, a young crusader of prisoners’ reforms. 

Faiz Akram Pasha, a young in his mid 30s, crusader of reformation and his Jana Sadbhawana, is not an unfamiliar name for thousands of inmates, former criminals and their families irrespective of caste, religion, region and race. Therefore, he has hundreds of emotional mothers and sisters across the state and especially in the capital city of Bangalore.

Jana Sadbhawana an organization working for maintaining peace and communal harmony, national integrity, and towards creating crime free society. Since this task has been carried out on humanitarian values, Faiz and his organization Jana Sadbhawana do not desire the publicity and hence lacks proper documentation of achievements.

According to Faiz, its thousands of youths and inmates who were counseled, hundreds of issues solved and about three hundred jailbirds from across the state of Karnataka were released after legal and financial assistance and hundreds of families were given the ‘helping hand’ for education and marriage etc. Funeral rites for about eighty unclaimed dead bodies of prisoners have been conducted so far.  “I do it just for the sake of humanity, Prophet Muhammad is the role model for me in this” asserts Faiz, a follower of Islam religion.

“We have volunteers among the prisoners. They are reformed criminals. They admit their crime and feel guilty, but all accidental. But crime is crime whether done intentionally or unintentionally. They don’t want others to commit same mistakes.” explicates Faiz.

Methodology:

Explaining his modus operandi Faiz says, “We identify the youth in our localities, having the inclination towards committing crime. We approach him, do the counseling, counseling and counseling, try to understand his problems and find solutions. If one doesn’t correct himself we approach local police”

“We present the pros and cons of the criminal act before them and the sufferings of the family, legal, social consequences they have to face aftermath. We try to solve their issues by arranging mutual consultations.” he adds.

Emphasizing on need of counseling he says, “Counseling at right time, in prison, and after coming out of prison is very important. Simultaneously addressing their and family’s issues and responding to them plays crucial role in reformation.”

On other hand his organization identifies under-trial, convicted persons whose sentence period is completed but fine amount pending, and provides the necessary psychological, legal and financial assistance.

“We provide them counseling and anger management training and moral education by expert psychologists, trainers and counselors. We take the oath from them that they will never think of crime and will be a loyal citizens and good human beings, while extending any kind of support” he elaborated.

Pointing out domestic issues too as major reason for the crimes, he says, “Family systems need to be strengthened in this regard. In all such cases women and children are worst hit, either as victims or accused”

Women prisoners:

Throwing more light on women prisoners, he narrates, “Life of women prisoners, children and new born babies are most awful, apart from health and hygiene. In this male dominated society, if a male goes to jail, everybody starting from child to old ones comes to meet him regularly, unfortunately in case of women, all relatives maintain the distances and cut-off the relations. It’s an injustice. Many of the women prisoners are accidental criminals and soft in nature. They need someone who can be responsive and extend helping hand. They are ready to live a good life.’

“We have handful of women volunteers who work among them, irrespective of religion, caste and creed just for the sake of humanity.” he added.

Inspiration:

“Late BS Abbai, showed me a way, made me realize the reality. He was a great visionary and advocate of human values. He suggested me to form a registered organization and named It.” remembers Faiz with weepy eyes.

“Being inspired by BS Abbai, the then DIG of Prison, Government of Karnataka, who motivated me to explore the world of prisoners, in the year 2005.  I started visiting the Central Jail, identified first time offenders and accidental criminals, and gave them a feel of affection and pleasant atmosphere. Many of them are ‘volunteers of change’ today.” he recalls.

Co-operations:

Briefing about the co-operations, he says, “Today Prison Department, headed by Mr. T.H. Lakshmi Narayan, DIG Bangalore-Prisons extends all the co-operations. Mr. VS Raja, DIG Karnataka-Prisons guides us being a patron-in-chief of Jana Sadbhawana. Ruling BJP Government too has permitted us to work in all prisons of the state. We are in touch with SHO of all police stations across the city. They co-operate with us.”

“Public participation is very essential to eradicate crime. ‘Safe city and Crime Free State’ campaign of police needs public participation. We are the part of it. We involve local elders, leaders of the community in solving their domestic or social issues.” he adds.

Faiz and his Jana Sadbhawana are simultaneously engaged in creating awareness among school students on ‘23 points’ towards creating ‘Safe city and Crime Free State’.

“Indeed he (Faiz) is the real worker and friend of this prison; He has bequeathed his heart to this jail. We can’t even recompense his love to this prison and prisoners. Along-with upholding the unity, he has done varied kinds of aids. He has lifted them up who stumbled. He has eased our future. He has done a great job. We are grateful to him.”  are the words of Mr. TH Lakshmi Narayan, DIG of Bangalore Prisons in an occasion of releasing deserved inmates, shows the credibility of Faiz.

Beyond the compound-walls of prison:

Generally, personal problems of inmates’ do not come out of huge compound and nobody bothers too. Series of problems do chase their wife, children in educational, social and economical spheres. Here they do suffer for what they are not responsible for. Let only criminal suffer, why others?, asks Faiz.

Exploring the hardship faced by family, especially from remote and poor background, he says, “In most of the cases, family of imprisoned person runs out of money as the sole breadwinner remains in jail. In such cases, they need assistance for health, education and marriages of their daughters.  Many families can’t even pay a last visit to the dear deceased in Jail, due to lack of money. Even if they manage to come from remote places of the state, they cannot afford the funeral and transportation of the dead body.”    

“In such cases our volunteers assist those aggrieved family in finalizing official formalities and funeral rites, all this needs huge funding. Spending from our pockets looks too little while compared to the need. We expect it from the philanthropists” he continued.

Determinations over experiences:

When asked about the difficulties he faces, “since we are working since seven years among prisoners, some established anti-social elements want us to act on their directions, on failing they threaten us of dire consequences, but we do not care.” revealed Faiz.

Deriving from his experience of working among inmates for several years, he rationalizes “It was accidental crimes committed in olden days, and then it took the form of planning; now it’s a kind of imitation and ‘impressing’ crimes. Domestic issues play crucial role in committing crimes, while youngsters fall prey because of drug addiction”

“We need to orient the talents and potentials of these youth towards constructive purposes of community building and social transformation. Society should accept the freed inmates, though it’s difficult. We should provide them an atmosphere where they get a job, establish business and stand on own legs” he envisages.

With a simple philosophy of  "Mai jee raha hoon, mere saath aur ek ko zindagi doon, mai kha raha hoon, mere saath aur ek ko khilaoon” (I’m living, let me give a life to  one more, I have food, let me feed one more), Faiz keeps magnetizing youths around him.

[Having a same kind of initiative in West Bengal, Faiz Akram Pasha dreams to take this mission to entire country. He is looking forward for human resource, talents and finance from the likeminded people. Faiz can be approached on +91 93411 18747, janasadbhawana.org @gmail.com, and www janasadbhawana.org]

 


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