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Here’s how erstwhile beauty queen Alokananda Roy is reforming the life of convicts in Kolkata

Roy works with convicts to reform them through a unique way

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Aloknanda Roy, Image Source: YouTube.com
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  • Alokananda Roy has been using arts as a tool to create hope for prisoners
  • Nigel Akkara, once a dreaded convict is now an established film actor and a businessman with the help of Ms. Alokananda Roy
  • She has also set up a school within the compound of the Correction Home

You might have heard that famous tale of reformation – the one in which a dreaded dacoit Ratnakar changed into Saint Valmiki-the man who later went on to pen the great epic, ‘Ramayana!’

Well, that was a single case of such transformation. Now meet Ms. Aloknanda Roy, the woman who is credited with transforming many Ratnakars into Valmikis.

She has a number of achievements in her kitty. Roy is a classical dancer, a dance educationist, a choreographer and a social worker. In addition she has also been conferred with a number of awards-Sanskrit Parishad Award, a gold medal from Shri Shikshayatan College. She was also Miss India’s first runner up in 1969 and is trained in classical ballet Russian style from Calcutta School of Music as well.

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A person with these many honorary awards can only be imagined sipping tea in a posh garden but instead she works with convicts to reform men and women who are serving their term in prison for committing heinous crimes. In a Presidency Correctional Home in Kolkata, far from the comfortable life she could have opted for, Roy has been using arts as a tool to paint hope for prisoners who are thoroughly demotivated and are oblivious to the the outside world.

Dance, music and drama have been her weapons since years to prove to the world that even the ones confined have a real chance at leading a better life by shedding the cloak of their past. Don’t mistake this as yet another dream that’s far fetched to achieve, she has done it before and she’s set to do it again.

Nigel akkara Image Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com
Nigel Akkara
Image Source: The Times of India

Narender Singh and his troupe of other inmates last year took the whole stage by storm with their heartfelt performance. A performance so intense that it called for a standing ovation from the audience, which consisted of policemen!

Nigel Akkara, once a dreaded convict is now an established film actor and a businessman with the help of Ms. Alokananda Roy. She has a whole cast made of convicts and she expects each of them to follow the same suit.

“Sure they have committed crimes that need to be punished, but if they wish to change, they should be given a fair opportunity,” urges the passionate teacher, who is in her sixties.”

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According to an article in thebetterindia.com, it all started back in 2007 when Roy first stepped inside a Correction home in Alipur jail where she was invited as a chief guest to celebrate women’s day. She noticed a lot of inmates walking aimlessly like ghosts of a shadow, existing but not living. She realized that they had nothing to wake up to, no aims, no goals, nothing. And that’s when she decided that she’ll bring a change.

“That visit liberated my mind. I was expecting dark, unlit corridors leading to strong metal doors. Instead, as I entered, I saw a nice open space, with some greenery. After the day’s programme, some women inmates asked me if I could teach them dance and I decided to take it on,” she recalls.

 

Heartfelt school. Image source: http://www.thebetterindia.com/58114/alokananada-roy-convicts-art-theatre-dance-reform/
Heartfelt school. Image source: http://www.thebetterindia.com/58114/alokananada-roy-convicts-art-theatre-dance-reform/

Consequently about a year ago Roy established a school in the vicinity of the Correction Home. This school named ‘Heartprint’ is an institution for the little ones, who belong to the ones living in confinement.

This is a first such facility in India, where the little ones of female inmates are given a chance to discover the other side of the world. It’s a complete school with everything any other school in the city has to offer; a desk, books, toys and now even a television set.

“For the many who have been born in the jail, this is the only ‘home’ and ‘world’ they have known. Till we set up Heartprint they didn’t even know what a school is. It’s no fault of theirs that they are in jail. They are there because their mothers cannot make it out to the outside world,” shares Roy.

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As_conviction_merge_with_Dance. Image source www.indianetzone.com
As_conviction_merge_with_Dance. Image source www.indianetzone.com

Building a better and brighter world for people who turned the life of others into ashes along with making a difference-that is Ms. Alokananda Roy for you.

-Prepared by Karishma Vanjani, an intern with NewsGram. Twitter @BladesnBoots


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  • Aparna Gupta

    Convicts should be given the advice and therapy to prevent further crimes by them. Roy is doing a good job, it will help the convicts to choose a right way after getting out of jail.

Next Story

Petrol Prices On The Reverse Trend For The Last 13 Days: Prices Fall

Both in Delhi and Kolkata, diesel prices in the fortnight have declined

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Petrol Prices On The Reverse Trend For The Last 13 Days: Prices Falls
Petrol Prices On The Reverse Trend For The Last 13 Days: Prices Falls, flickr

Domestic petrol prices, which had hit record levels for 16 consecutive days in May, have been on the reverse trend for the last 13 days, including Monday, but the relief for consumers has been slow in coming.

The pace of decline has been less than half the rate of surge.

Percentage-wise, since May 30, when prices started to take a downturn, petrol prices have slipped 2.35 per cent in Delhi, compared to the 5.5 per cent in the previous 16 days.

In absolute terms, prices have gone down by Rs 1.85 a litre since May 30, compared to the increase of Rs 3.8 per litre in the during May 14-29. On Monday, fuel was sold at Rs 76.58 per litre in the national capital, down 20 paise from Sunday’s level, the IndianOil Corp’s website showed.

In Mumbai, where petrol prices were the highest in the country last month, the decline has been much slow at Rs 1.23 per litre so far, against the rise of Rs 3.76 a litre during May 14-29.

On Monday, petrol price in Mumbai was Rs 84.41 per litre against Rs 84.61 on Sunday. Similarly, in Kolkata and Chennai, the fuel was sold at Rs 79.25 and Rs 79.48 respectively.

In Kolkata and Chennai too, the decline has been Rs 1.81 and Rs 1.65 per litre in the last 13 days, around 50 per cent of the previous rate of increase.

In tandem with petrol prices, diesel too has seen a decline, but of only around 2 per cent in all the major cities including Delhi, compared to over 5 per cent rise in the previous fortnight.

Petrol station
Petrol station, flickr

Both in Delhi and Kolkata, diesel prices in the last 13 days have declined by Rs 1.36, and in Mumbai and Kolkata, the fall was of Rs 1.44 and Rs 1.45 per litre respectively.

Also read: Petrol price slashes by 32 paise and diesel price by 85 paise

On Monday, prices of the fuel in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai were at Rs 67.95, Rs 70.50, Rs 72.35 and Rs 71.73 per litre, respectively. (IANS)