THE LEAD STAR Outlets
Vol 6 Issue 34, Aug 21 - 27, 2015
    Citizen Reporters      |   | Submit Story
Green WarriorsSocial EntrepreneursUnsung Heroes

With over 60 shows, Sankalpa has used theatre to prepare convicts for a better life

   By  Marianne de Nazareth
   Bangalore
28 Aug 2015
Posted 15-Mar-2012
Vol 3 Issue 11

Picture a burly, foul mouthed convict, condemned to life imprisonment for murder, roaming freely in your town as part of a theatre group and then returning to his cell along with prison officials after the show is over.

It seems quite unrealistic that such a thing can happen in this age. But Sankalpa, a theatre group, which has its head office in Mysore, works with prisoners and trains them to perform in plays.

Hulugappa Kattimani believes theatre can be used to reform prisoners (Photos: Saggere Radhakrishna)

Hulugappa Kattimani, the director of Sankalpa, who has rich experience in theatre, strongly believes that theatre is a powerful medium for entertainment and also a vehicle for social change

Sankalpa has been conducting theatre workshops in jails across the state since 1997. These workshops focus on Yoga, meditation, painting, traditional folk arts like kolata, kamsale and other creative learning.

Thirteen years ago, Kattimani studied drama under noted doyen of the Kannada stage – BV Karanth.

Once, when they had gone to enact a play in the Bellary central jail, Kattimani realized that training the prisoners in theatre could change their attitude to life and lead them on a reformative path.

“These are human beings who need to be brought back to the main stream of society,” says Kattimani, “and what better way than use theatre to help them back to a life they can be proud of.”

In 1997 Kattimani conducted theatre camps in the Bellary, Mysore and Bangalore jails. The trained prisoners soon started acting in his plays. So far, he has staged more than 60 plays with them, including that of Shakespeare’s and several written by Indian playwrights.

Many lives are changing. “I told SV Ramesh, a nasty convicted murderer that if he wanted to play Gandhiji, he had to mend his ways and clean up his language. He was a very difficult and uncouth man, but after playing the roles of Gandhi and Basavana, a 12th century reformer, the man stopped his customary crude speech and became a changed man,” reveals Kattimani.

“He has also turned a vegetarian and walks barefoot in the steps of the Mahatma.”

In early March, Sankalpa conducted a Drama Festival called 'From one Jail to another '. During the four day festival, the following plays were staged: ‘King Lear’ by inmates of Mysore Central Jail, ‘Ward no. 6’ by inmates of Bangalore Central Jail, ‘Gokaranada Goudashani’by inmates of Dharwad Central Jail, and ‘Shivaratri’ by inmates of Belgaum Central Jail.

“Special effort was made in selection of the plays, which were all connected to lives of the inmates in some way,” says Kattimani.

Hulugappa Kattimani

It’s been tough for Kattimani and Sankalpa to find funds for the project, but senior IPS officer Gopal Hosur has helped them. Some institutions such as the State Bank of Mysore and the Kannada Culture Department support them now.

It has not been easy going for Kattimani, but the 45 year old, has been supported in his endeavour by his wife who is also a theater person.

Their efforts are bearing fruit. Many prisoners have in fact fallen in love – with theatre.

That’s the power of art, as a journalist discovered when he asked an inmate after a performance in Kerala, “You are not handcuffed. You had a good chance to escape. Why did you not choose to do so?”

The inmate had responded, “What a question to ask. If I run away who will do my role?”

Take a bow, Kattimani!
 



Print  |  Email  | 
 Share   


You might also like:

Betray, in short Bt

That all claims about GE crops are humbug has been proved once again through research by Navdanya and US Union of Concerned Scientists, says Vandana Shiva, who explains how it helps only MNCs

Read More

Sun energy

While India is pinning its hopes on nuclear energy, China is turning to solar in a big way. Three separate solar power projects with a combined capacity of 100-MW are under way at Xigaze

Read More
Stories on Innovations & Innovators
THE LEAD STAR
adyar bakery
 
Mentoring Tamil Nadu



Popular Stories

The transformer

Irrigation wells, schools, a weavers’ cooperative and many such schemes have transformed villages in Maharashtra’s Sangli and Kolhapur districts. But Arun Chavan, the man behind it all, is not known outside the area, says Kavita Kanan Chandra

Read More

A real motivator

Former President A P J Abdul Kalam not just asked the youth to dream but also motivated people, helping them realise their dreams. P C Vinoj Kumar has the story of former army driver V Kathiresan becoming assistant professor, thanks to Kalam

Read More

People’s bridge

The new 225 feet long bridge across river Ghaggar, linking the villages of Panihari and Alikan in Haryana, is a model project. Costing Rs 1.5 crore, the bridge is an example of a people’s initiative, funded by the public, says Partho Burman

Read More

Barefoot protector

From a ‘crying bed’ that alerts mom to change baby’s diaper to ‘auto-safe’ helmet making distress call in the event of an accident, Rudra Narayan Mukherjee has fabricated a plethora of devices from a tin-roof lab, says Santosh H K Narayan

Read More

Poverty’s child

Once a domestic help, it is just natural that Anuradha Bhosale dedicated her life to protect children from exploitation. Kavita Kanan Chandra tells us how she charted her path out of poverty through education and work among child labourers

Read More

Chicken dream

It is sheer grit and determination that took B Soundararajan, MD of Suguna Holdings, to such dizzy heights. P C Vinoj Kumar meets the man, whose poultry business makes a turnover of Rs 5500 crore

Read More

A grandpa’s story

At 97, Sudhanshu Biswas is a busy man. Taking care of 50 boys and 6 senior citizens, meticulously monitoring if they are served food on time and so on, at his home near Kolkata, he keeps visitors waiting. G Singh found the waiting worthwhile

Read More

Caring by habit

A Chennai woman’s simple gesture of donating the money she gets from selling old newspapers, collected from homes, to two orphanages is an inheritance from her parents, who always took care of poor youth at their home, says P C Vinoj Kumar

Read More

From scratch

ConceptWaves is a successful company. But 10 years ago its founder Raghu Kanchustambham launched his first project as his team was falling apart. Sapna Gopal traces the entrepreneur’s journey

Read More

Lavender dream

Realising that medicine was not her calling, Gazalla Amin pursued a dream to cultivate aromatic plants, never to look back, says Afsana Rashid, explaining the blossoming of entrepreneurship

Read More
 
Kudos image

"The Weekend Leader not only gives a glimpse of the better things happening around us but also tells stories of people who made it possible.”

Ajay Chaturvedi, Entrepreneur More Kudos
 
Archives  |   Columns  |   About Us  |   Contact Us  |   Feedback  |   Response  |     |   Cheers!  |   Support Us  |   Friends of Positive Journalism
© Copyright The Weekend Leader.com, 2010. All rights reserved.