The Telegraph
Monday , October 8 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Prisoners work on healthy mind

- Fitness trainer donates equipment to Sajiwa jail inmates to exercise

Imphal, Oct. 7: Fitness has its benefits and the authorities at Sajiwa jail here will vouch for that given the way the interns have mellowed out since they started working out.

The inmates, mostly hardened criminals, drug addicts involved in crimes and militants, are de-stressing in a much healthier way, thanks to the fitness equipment donated to the jail by fitness trainer and Anymal Gym owner R.K. Viswajit in July.

The jail authorities, too, are happy. “The inmates are more disciplined and better behaved after they started fitness training sessions following installation of the equipment,” a senior jail official said.

Viswajit installed Rs 1 lakh worth of equipment, which he had put together at his Khoyathong home, in the jail on July 14. After installation, he taught the inmates how to work out with of the equipment. He also gave them an exercise guidebook to help them in their workouts.

The well-known fitness trainer is known for his maverick ways of helping underdogs. Before this endeavour, he had distributed cash prizes among students who got the least aggregate marks in the last matric examination.

“My idea behind installing the gym equipment in the jail was to instil a positive attitude by making the inmates physically fit. A healthy body has a healthy mind. I want the inmates to come out physically fit and with a good attitude so that they can become responsible citizens,” Viswajit told The Telegraph.

He said society’s progress and well-being required all its members to become responsible citizens. Only a few good people could never make a society progressive, he added.

His efforts did not go in vain either. The inmates are showing signs of improved health in just two months. “Earlier, I could not eat and sleep well. Now I am feeling good. I enjoy the food and I fall asleep as soon as I lie down,” Stephen Thouthang, an undertrial, said.

The Sajiwa jail has about 700 inmates.

Moreover, visitors were earlier not allowed to bring vegetables for the inmates. Viswajit convinced the jail authorities that those working out needed to eat fresh, and now, the inmates are allowed to keep the fresh vegetables their relatives bring.

A majority of the inmates exercise for an hour, taking turns at the equipment. Viswajit and his instructors regularly visit the jail to monitor their progress and also to give instructions.

Viswajit, however, has more plans for the inmates. In the coming days, he plans to urge the jail authorities to set up a library with books on personality development and positive thinking.