Motivational Video
Vol 7 Issue 30, Jul 22 - 28, 2016
    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
25 Jul 2016
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:

Rags to hitches

With corporates dealing in garbage, the traditional rag picker’s job is at stake. Stella Paul spots two women from India at the climate summit in Durban, drawing world attention to the issue

Read More

Mules and horses

All is not well with the IAS. Anuradha Pritam tells how the steel frame is rusting and why many bureaucrats are not happy with a system that does not differentiate between a mule and a horse

Read More

Stories on Innovations & Innovators
The Lead Star Digital Issue
adyar bakery
 
Mentoring Tamil Nadu



Popular Stories

Child teacher

A follower of Swami Vivekananda, Babar Ali started a school under a guava tree, when he was just nine years, at his village in West Bengal. The young headmaster, 14 years later, tells G Singh how people accused him of proselytism initially

Read More

Traffic tamer

To prevent an accident, similar to the one that killed her daughter, 59-year-old Dorris Francis has been regulating traffic since last six years at the spot where a car rammed their auto. Partho Burman profiles the braveheart from Ghaziabad

Read More

Wheeling food

Jaideep Sarin recounts the story of Radhika Aroa, an MBA graduate, who quit her corporate job to set up a roadside food cart serving homemade food in Mohali with an investment of Rs. One lakh

Read More

Cool relief

Overhearing a home tutor’s physics lecture to his son, Ashis Paul of Grey Dhaka designed a cooling devise, bringing relief to poor Bangladeshis reeling under heat without power, says G Singh

Read More

Sworn benefactor

At the funeral of his brother in 1963, Deo Kumar Saraf swore not to let poverty-struck people die due to lack of medical care. Today, his Anandalok group of hospitals challenge corporate hospitals with their affordable charges, says G Singh

Read More

Nostalgic ride

A last vestige of colonial era, an antique train with wooden coaches still chugs on India’s only private railway line in Maharashtra. Narendra Kaushik traces the journey of Shakuntala Express

Read More

Flattening a myth

Dispelling the long held belief that flat-footed persons cannot excel in sports, Dipa Karmakar has become the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympics. Partho Burman tracks the bumpy road the Tripura athlete had travelled so far

Read More

River revival

Noyyal, the river that fed the fertile western Tamil Nadu, is today polluted and dry most of the time. To rejuvenate the dead Noyyal, Vanitha Mohan is on an eco-mission. P C Vinoj Kumar profiles her on the occasion of World Environment Day

Read More

Wigs of compassion

A cancer patient’s elation over the wig he had made for her changed Marishetty Kumar’s life.  The wigmaker who made wigs for actors now sells his creations for a discounted price to those who lose hair due to chemotherapy, says Usha Prasad

Read More

Water winner

The ups and downs of B M Balakrishna’s life are linked to water. Starting as a car washer, he went to sell water pumps and then founded a RO plant. S Sainath meets the owner of Rs 20 crore Aquapot that is set to double its turnover this year

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