Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela have always owed their transformation, that in turn changed the world, to the learning they received inside the prison. It is not surprising then that a new university in Rajasthan founded only two years ago draws its inspiration from great social leaders like Gandhi, Mandela and Malcolm X. For the Swaraj Jail University inside Udaipur Central Jail, incarceration means an opportunity to transform convicts into community leaders.
While campuses across the country remain closed due to the coronavirus crisis, Swaraj Jail University is continuing the learning process of its inmate-students, in stark contrast to the way the society outside is dealing with the present and the future. If paralysis and uncertainty represent the free society today, the locked-up students of Jail University are working everyday confident of a better tomorrow.
Launched two years ago by a consortium of civil society groups like education and development NGO Shikshantar, the Vinoba Bhave-inspired Moved By Love project at the Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad, Art of Living and Edible Routes Foundation in collaboration with Udaipur Central Jail, this unconventional university lays its foundation on healing and possibilities of a new life. By confronting the flawed norm of banishing criminals from the society forever, the Jail University aims at compassion and rehabilitation.