In the serene island of Andaman, surrounded by beautiful beach and lovely blue ocean water, there lies an architectural marvel. A historical building with seven wings radiated from the tower in straight lines, much like the spokes of a bicycle wheel. Though it carries only three wings now, still a nice building with fresh breeze from the ocean for the terrace and the centrally located watch tower. Backyards are decked up with coconut and mango trees.
Just for these beautiful surroundings and earthy looking building, any one would have loved to have a holiday home in such a place and enjoy the serenity. Alas! How it looks and the history it holds are 180 degrees apart. Every brick of the building has the stories to tell about the brutality of the colonial rulers who looked after this building, so called cellular jail!
If you enter the passage of the prison, get to see the prison cells that gave the name as cellular jail. Similar small barracks with heavy iron doors and a window that could serve only for the entry/exit of air and ensured that prisoner could not see outside through it. Cleverly installed latches and the locks that could not be seen or touched by the inmates. Empty haunting cells and the stories of unsung heroes of the Indian history send shivers to your spine. A peek into the gallows where they could hang three at a time with one single lever could jolt any person.
Everything is built with immaculate perfection, makes you marvel at the architecture of the building while the irony of the history melts your heart.
Kindly excuse me for not having the words and courage to write about the punishments and the pathetic conditions of the prisoners.
There are plenty of boards, info-graphics, photos, and structural evidences to understand the history. But the Sound & Light Show that happens at the jail premises in the evening, is the final arrow that could break any heart.
The grand old Peepal Tree in the yard, which has witnessed all the atrocities on the freedom fighters, takes the role of the narrator in the Sound & Light Show. As the tree and the wall of the prisons take turns in telling the stories that they have witnessed, it is difficult to hold the tears or the choked throat.
At that moment, question that came to my mind was, Is there any limit to the human cruelty ?
Frequently we come across the comparisons on cruelty and criminal behavior of people to animal instincts. Is that comparison justified? I won’t think so. Except humans, all other animals do fight/injure or kill others for their survival. Either to eat the prey as food or save themselves from the enemies.
But what about human beings? What is the use of having intelligence, sophisticated technology, highly evolved brain that gives the ability to think, distinguish between act or react, allows us to introspect, inspect and adapt, and so on…
With all the education and knowledge we have, are we incapable understanding and implementing simplest formula for life, Live and let others live?
Why is it difficult for us to follow the old saying, Do good to others if possible, otherwise at least ensure that you are not harming them.
When do we get to see that era of peace and calmness where people would trust, empathize and respect each other. Do we ever realize that we need to treat others as we want to be treated?
It is difficult to hold these kind of questions and think about individual helplessness. However each of us have our own responsibility to work towards a better world. Even the tiny acts of kindness on daily basis could add up some positivism to the world. Let us do our little bit to make our surroundings a better place.
Think how you could add little more joy and kindness to the world, start working without waiting for the perfect day or the time. Let us get going in the direction of brighter and better world.