Women’s Probation home in Ranchi
A silent reform is sweeping through Women’s Probation Home in Ranchi’s Namkum.
The inmates of the home — nearly 50 in number — are trying to connect with their inner voices with sessions of yoga and meditation, which sources said, besides calming them down had done a lot to improve their self-esteem.
The sessions, which have also brought significant changes in the mental health of the inmates, were introduced in the last week of February after officials perceived that they needed help and were going through a torrid time staying with each other.
A handful — around six that officials said suffered from extreme “mental imbalance” — had also been sent to Kanke-based Central Institute of Psychiatry for a compulsory 15-day treatment and medication session after which they are undertaking yoga and meditation classes at the home.
According to Amita Ekka, who is in-charge of the home, the stress counselling and cognitive therapy sessions were necessary for the development of the distorted personalities of the inmates, who hail from various parts of the state like Latehar, Ranchi, Hazaribagh and Daltonganj.
While most of the inmates are destitutes, there are some who are awaiting court orders after being charged with eloping.
“When they are brought in, the women go through an emotional crisis. They often end up bickering and fighting with each other. It becomes very difficult to control them. The peaceful atmosphere of the home is also affected,” Ekka said.
She added that they had also conducted a week-long special Art of Living camp in the last week of February. The inmates had to attend two-hour sessions (from 7am to 9am) during the seven days. The camp included a little bit of yoga and meditation but mainly focussed on spirituality. The results left the authorities beaming.
“I was surprised to find that the girls showed dramatic changes in their behaviour after the Art of Living course. They appeared to be more fit mentally and were able to control their anger,” Ekka pointed out. About the six inmates who had been sent to Central Institute of Psychiatry in the first week of February, she said they had come back with a lot of positive attitude.
“These girls were under tremendous mental trauma. But they have come back healthy and calm from their counselling. Not only do they smile more often now, they are also concentrating on their lessons,” Ekka said.
Pundag-based DAV Public School teacher Amarjeet Shashtri, who conducts moral lesson classes at the home, said the main idea was to bring about a sense of acceptance among the inmates.
The moral lesson classes of an hour’s duration were started around four months ago and are held every Saturday.
“Most of these girls are in trauma after being separated from their families. We need to instil moral values in them so that they once again start understanding and respecting the importance of relationships,” Shashtri said.
The dominant feeling among the inmates, he added, was that they had committed a crime.
“We are trying to help them get rid of that feeling so that they can connect with the mainstream. During my classes, the inmates take a keen interest. They look forward to changing their behaviour and their current lifestyle. They are starting to show signs of changes in their overall personalities. But we need more time to work on them,” Shashtri said.
Ekka added that with the kind of positive results they had got, the authorities might soon re-introduce the Art of Living classes too.