2ndlook

Indian Independence – Prison Logistics

Posted in British Raj, Desert Bloc, History, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on March 4, 2012

Can jail bharo andolan work today? Surprisingly, it can. The Indian government does not have the capacity jail too many people.

MahatmaGandhi with leaders of the All-India Congress Party, August 1942, at a press confrence in picture (from R to L) Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sarojni Naidu, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Gandhiji, wearing a cap not known and JB Kripalani |  Source-Associated Press  |  Click for image.

MahatmaGandhi with leaders of the All-India Congress Party, August 1942, at a press confrence in picture (from R to L) Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sarojni Naidu, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Gandhiji, wearing a cap not known and JB Kripalani | Source-Associated Press | Click for image.

The numbers

Before the end of the British Raj, the part of India that the British ruled, (roughly 60% of modern India), had about 200 prisons.

This number of 200 prisons does not include prisons in the kingdoms of more than 500 Indian kings, princes and rulers, who were allied but not a part of the British Raj.

These prisons and jails of the British Raj, my estimate is, roughly held about 100,000 prisoners. Prior to Gandhiji’s non-cooperation movement took steam, the number of political prisoners were few – and Indian political leadership was afraid of going to jail.

Gandhiji’s movement changed that.

Overflowing jails

Anna Hazare protests. If 2-3 lakh people can volunteer for imprisonment, the Indian Government will be forced to negotiate.  |  Image source and courtesy - tribune.com.pk

Anna Hazare protests. If 2-3 lakh people can volunteer for imprisonment, the Indian Government will be forced to negotiate. | Image source and courtesy - tribune.com.pk

Like this extract below shows, the Congress alone created nearly 100,000 prisoners.

The British just did not have the capacity to jail any more people. This lack of capacity to jail was in itself a short term pressure on the British Raj. At a point, they had to stop arresting people, because there was no capacity.

What now!

The situation is not very different now.

India has a capacity to imprison about 2,75,000 prisoners. It already has 3,75,000 prisoners. This is the lowest per-capita prisoner-to-population ratio in the world.

If a few lakhs people were to go to jail, the Indian Government’s jail system will collapse.

Extract from: Constitutional Schemes and Political Development in India- Towards Transfer ... - |  By Verinder Grover  |  Page 209  |  Courtesy - Google Books |  Accessed on 2012-03-04 21-46-54  |  Click to access source page at books.google.com

Extract from: Constitutional Schemes and Political Development in India- Towards Transfer ... - | By Verinder Grover | Page 209 | Courtesy - Google Books | Accessed on 2012-03-04 21-46-54 | Click to access source page at books.google.com


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2 Responses

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  1. Gaurav Sharma said, on March 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Whenever Indian govt is faced with such circumstances like “Jail Bharo” then it resorts to converting government schools in small towns into prisons. Schools , panchayat offices etc are converted into makeshift jails. I dont think that the idea of “jail bharo ” can shake teh government? Need to think new ways …

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