with Mr.B.S.Abbai, the winner of President's Award
Gandhi has told that the criminals must be treated as patients,
the place being the prisons and jails. The authorities must
take every precaution to educate and reform them and when
they come out they must become good citizens of one's country.
He told that the jails should give "Shikshana" (Education)
not "Shiksha" (Punishment).
he looks at the jails at present can anybody think that
our present day rulers and bureaucrats are following
the words of Mahatma Gandhi? Repeatedly we have come
to know the reports about the lock-up deaths in the
press. Recently the Supreme Court has made a strong
observation and concern about the lock-up deaths.
To know something about these things, to get first hand
information about jails and their inmates I had an interview
with Sri. Balappa Shivarudrappa Abbai popularly known
as B.S.Abbai, the Superintendent of Mysore Central Prison.
It was like finding an oasis in the desert for me. It was
my good luck indeed. I became very close to him. His name
was Subhash. He was from Kundapur and unmarried and looked
like a good boy. Even though he was not professional his face
was friendly. He became my good friend as long as I lived
in Goa. Even today he is a good friend of mine. I told him
everything without any hesitation. He also felt very happy.
He locked his shop immediately and came to my lodge. We exchanged
our ideas regarding our business completely.
is a recipient of President's medal for meritorious service
on 26th January of 2000. He was born on 9th of February 1954
to Sri.S.M.Abbai and Smt.Bhaageerathi S Abbai in a village,
Jaalikop of Belagaum District. He completed his B.Sc from
R.L.Science Institute, Belgaum. He is a graduate of Law from
R.L.Law College, Belgaum. He took his KPSC examination successfully
and got appointed as Assistant Superintendent of Prisons in
Belgaum as a probationary officer. He underwent the ATI training
for sixteen weeks. He finished one-year training course at
R.I.C.A. Vellore. He handled the case of Charles Shobharaj,
the notorious international criminal. He was transferred to
Gulbarga as Superintendent of Prison on promotion. He had
undertaken a lot of reformatory works like digging an open
well, development of dry land by planting thousands of saplings
and built a barge for storage of rain water, all with the
help of prisoners
1988 he was transferred to Bangalore. Within a year he was
transferred to Bellary. He undertook lot of development works
like digging an open well with size stone masonry. He built
a compound wall using waste materials along with a garden.
He served long at Bellary.
I interviewed him at Mysore as he is working here as Superintendent
of Central Prison.
are the excerpts of our talks:
Sir, what made you to enter this profession?
Actually I had no interest in taking this profession in
the beginning. But later on, I thought I can serve the society
better if the job is taken seriously as most of the inmates
of the prisons are completely discarded by the society and
even after their release they will not be entertained by the
people wholeheartedly. So here is a chance for an hard working
and honest officer to reform them and bring them back to the
main stream, thus giving them also a chance to lead an honorable
Can you please narrate a memorable incidence occurred during
There are lots of incidences but I will quote one. Once
it was arranged to cut a tree. A prisoner was cutting one
of the branches while some 20-30 prisoners were sitting under
the tree. The man who was cutting did not care to warn the
sitters and all of a sudden the branch came down. At that
time I rushed and gave my shoulders and thus saved them.
Generally the society has a misconception about jails. Why
is it so?
Here in Mysore prison I have taken some cultural activities
like histrionics. We have enacted two dramas viz., "Maranayaka"
and "Rakthakshi" with the help of Rangayana. Only prisoners
participated in that. We have built a "Dhyana Mandhira", where
"Raja yoga" classes will be conducted for the prisoners everyday.
Thanks for the kind co-operation of Vikasana Samsthe, Lion's
Club and Prajapitha Brahma Kumari Ishwariya Vidyakendra.
while I was in Bangalore I encouraged the inmates to take
up computer courses. Thanks for the co-operation of Sterlite
Foundation, Mumbai. For the first time it was introduced in
Karnataka and 3 batches have already come out successfully.
introduced a Public addressing system while I was in Bangalore.
A regular medical check up to detect aids and other contagious
diseases was taken up with the help of Rotary Club, Bangalore.
Even the eye camps were arranged. Once in a month a dental
check up was taken up with the help of M.S. Ramaiaha Dental
College. The famous Late G.V. Athri gave training in Sugama
make the inmates to have their own earnings they will be given
training in Carpentry, Carpet making and other such works
so that while they go out they can make an honorable living.
Even prison panchayaths were established and election were
conducted for every 6 months.
People generally thing that with out greasing the hands of
the authorities it is impossible to meet an inmate. What do
Unfortunately it is true to a little extent. To avoid that
we often change the lower staff. Even jailors will be changed
frequently. If there is any complaint even now under my jurisdiction
one can directly come and contact me so that I can take proper
As you know there is a technically advanced system in Hyderabad
where in with out bringing an accused to the court the procedures
can be conducted there itself. Is there any such proposal
to be introduced here also?
It has been reported to the Government and it is under consideration
When compared to prisons in western countries what are the
It cannot be compared, as the financial conditions are
There is an allegation that the rich can escape from Rigorous
Imprisonment. What do you say?
A. No such things. I have not noticed such things in
Some under world gangsters opt to stay in Mysore prison thinking
that they can get maximum protection. Is it a fact?
That is not the fact. For administration convenience and to
avoid gang wars inside the prison we often shift the prisoners
to different jails. Nothing more than that.
is known that those who can afford will get their foods from
out side. What do you say?
For those who are under trials there is a provision that they
can get their food from their homes. Even that will be checked
thoroughly and sent in. But for convicts no such provision
is there. Outside food will not be allowed.
having an absorbing interview with B.S. Abbai I came out thinking
that if such sincere and honest officers are allowed to work
freely they can bring lot of changes in the attitude of criminals
and even though the crimes may not be completely eradicated
it can be brought down to a considerable point.
him a great success in his endeavor of reforming the inmates
I came out.