‘Education can change perspective towards life’
“I always had an inclination towards Mathematics. But it was not possible to pursue it from jail, so I chose the subject that I thought to be the closest to that - economics,” Satish Shinde added.
PUNE: “Imprisoned within the four walls of jail for years together, when there is practically nothing to look forward to, education gave my life an aim,” says Satish Shinde, former inmate who has been recently released. As he kept getting transferred from jail to jail over the period of his life imprisonment, one thing that remained constant in his life his pursuit of education. And this is what led him to attaining 12 degrees and diplomas in the 17 years five months and 12 days that he was in the prison.
“You are just an inmate when you get into a jail. But when you are also studying, you are called an inmate student, think how much of a difference this can make on a person’s mind,” said Shinde, as he happily shared his story. He has two Bachelor’s degrees, one in Political Science and the other in Economics. He also has Masters degrees in these two subjects. Following these, he completed several diploma courses from Welingkar Institute. Originally from Ranmala village in Khed taluka, he was convicted in 2005, for a murder he committed four years earlier. “I always had an inclination towards Mathematics. But it was not possible to pursue it from jail, so I chose the subject that I thought to be the closest to that - economics,” Shinde added.
The lower number of inmates taking up higher education worries him.
“All jails have literacy programmes for inmates. However, there are hardly handful of them, who pursue higher education. Education can change one’s perspective towards life for so much better, and it’s necessary that more inmates are guided and counselled to take it up,” he asserted.
He also mentioned that most of the jails do not have Masters programmes, and this is also something that needs to be added. However, he does not expect the government to take care of everything.
He said, “The government already has a lot of responsibility and expenditure of looking after inmates. If organisations, NGOs, could come forward to help inmates, it could bring about wonderful changes.” He now works in a Pune-based organisation Navjeevan Mandal that works for the rehabilitation of released inmates. He is happy that he works at a managerial position. “I am getting really late for work, let us get this done with quickly,” says Shinde.
“Whenever I get call from the Yerwada Open Jail that an inmate has been released, but has no home, or no one to go back to, we immediately bring him here. For those WITH families, we help them establish contact,” he said. “All I want to do is set a positive example for others like me. No one commits a crime without any reason. I want my story to inspire those like me, so that they believe that their lives could also change,” he concluded.