Note: Today's Indian Express newspaper carries a feature on my forthcoming play entitled Chal bé kapadé utar. It was written during the time I was incarcerated in Raipur Central Jail, and is being directed by Mr. Rajkamal Naik of Koutuk. The sketch at the bottom is of Dilip Chhatri, C.O. (Convict Overseer), who is its principal character.
Express News Service
Meet Jogi jr, playwright post-prison
Posted online: Sunday, October 29, 2006 at 0000 hrs
Raipur, October 28: Chal be kapde utaar (go on, take off your clothes).” These are the words every new entrant in a prison here hears. This is also the title of a play by Amit Jogi, son of former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi, who was an inmate of the Raipur Central Prison for about 10 months.
Amit had been booked for the murder of NCP treasurer Avtar Singh Jaggi.
The play, compiled from Amit’s notes during his 10-month stay at the prison, attempts to portray life inside prison. According to junior Jogi, the literary attempt is an effort to come to terms with reality; the inhuman environment, rampant homosexuality inside the prison walls and gang politics.
The characters in the play tell their own story. One of them is implicated for murder while another is an innocent person who has been booked under a false case and forced to spend the best years of his life in prison. Refusing to clarify whether one of the characters in the play was based on himself, Amit said he wanted to bring out the real prison life in a form accessible to everyone.
“Despite tall claims about prison reforms, the situation within the confines is shockingly different,” Jogi said.
“Once inside the walls, everyone feels naked as penetrating eyes are always looking at each and every action of the inmates,” he added, explaining the title.