Pondicherry Central Jail came alive to celebrate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) on August 15, 2022.
On the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, The Satsang Foundation marked the high point of a series of initiatives to help prisoners across India to free their minds and embark on a journey of inner transformation through yoga to coincide with the 150th birth anniversary of one of its most illustrious freedom fighters, Sri Aurobindo Ghosh.
A brainchild of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, implemented through the Ministry of Culture, the initiative reached out to eminent spiritual leaders like Sri M to work out the plan countrywide. Sri M launched the initiative in Ahmedabad Central Jail on the 18th of April, addressing the prisoners and inaugurating yoga training sessions for the inmates through TSF’s Bharat Yoga Vidya Kendra trainers.
Fittingly, on the 15th of August, 2022, Sri M addressed prisoners at the Pondicherry Central Jail near Auroville where Sri Aurobindo undertook most of his significant spiritual work, to mark Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM). Inspiring the prisoners by telling them of Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual transformation worked out within a 9 by 5 cell in Alipore prison, Sri M announced a series of Yoga sessions by BYVK for the inmates.
AKAM celebrations across the country marked the highpoint of what Sri M termed as Manav Seva: Beyond Barriers by teaching yoga to 910 inmates across the nation’s prisons. Of these, 408 inmates were trained as teachers themselves to be able to spread the teachings among others and to take away a valuable skill that would help rehabilitate them when they walked out of jail. The others were given the key to make their minds free through yoga and pranayama and embark on a spiritual journey.
Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Gujarat, Delhi, Maharashtra and Kerala were the states covered between April and August.
In Delhi, BYVK trainers covered 11 jails from Tihar (South Asia’s largest prison complex) and Mandoli to touch the lives of 372 inmates over 48 sessions. In Maharashtra, Pune’s historic Yerawada jail where Gandhiji signed the Poona Pact to abolish separate electorates in 1932, the women’s jail in Byculla, Mumbai and the Thane Central Jail trained 110 inmates over 46 sessions. Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Chennai, Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram were the other cities where Yoga training was imparted to prison inmates to help their inner transformation.
Yerawada Jail Pune
Cultural programmes, patriotic songs and dances, flag hoisting ceremonies and yoga demonstrations marked AKAM celebrations across these prisons cementing the relationship built by TSF with them by Manav Seva: Beyond Barriers.