The Journey 2017-12-19T19:24:24+00:00

The Journey

Balmiki Pratibha has been performed 66 times. Mokshagati has been staged over 14 times. Gahi Shamyero Gaan over 10 times. Dhrubajyoti Tumi Jishu has just started its journey. As on this day, the inmates of the state reformatories are going to touch the mark of a hundred public performances, within the state and around the country. They have earned appreciation from the audience of IIM, Independence Day Parade at Red Road (Kolkata Police), Indian Science Congress, All India Conference of Medical Science, Kolkata International Film Festival, India International Trade Fair, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, to name a few. They have proved themselves time and again to be true artists and the society at large accepted them to be so.

But the movement is not all about stunning productions and dance performances. The inmates under the program are also being educated. Their Maa absolutely insists on it. Many of the boys and girls have been attaining their educational qualifications from within.

Her interactions boost self confidence and self respect among them. She tries to instill the understanding of right and wrong and the values she grew up with. They dote on her and to many she is the Goddess Saraswati in person.

A lot has changed over the past few years. Initially they traveled for the shows by highly escorted police transport. Now they travel by buses hired by the organizers and with minimum police escort.

However, the most astonishing change came when, they were granted the benefit of parole, after their majestic performance at Biswabharati, granted by Mr. B. D. Sharma, and many of them stepped out of the gates for the first time in ages. Even a convict has people they love. They go home, spend some time with their families and feel free for a little while. Then they come right back at the end of it, respecting the trust invested in them.

Since the beginning of the program, many trained under her loving disciplinary, have been released. They went back to the society with a clean slate and are leading positive lives, with decent livelihood. Most are in touch with Smt. Roy, updating her of their present status. That journey though, wasn’t easy in most cases. There have been struggles to prove themselves worthy of trust, to find work, to sustain themselves even on the most basic requirements. And yet, they fought till they could find a way of survival instead of going back to the dark world again.

Within the walls, on the other hand, new boys with potential keep filling up the vacancies. New faces and yet same stories. The same love works its magic and the movement continues.

But her love didn’t stop only with the inmates, but has spread to their families as well. Initially Touch World had started taking care some of the children of convicts who also grow up with the stigma. These children were put in a Home run and managed by Touch World, in Narendrapur.

The boys were later admitted to Don Bosco, Murshidabaad and also a school run by Ramkrishna Mission and their boarding and education is sponsored by well wishers of Touch world. She is always there, providing active help and wise counsel. Started as a mother, now she is grandmother to many.

In the lady’s ward, some children live with their mothers. Many of them are born within the prison walls. They are allowed to be there till the age of six. There is minimum education, games, playground, or anything else that a child outside access to. The children live the life of prisoners as well. The wall becomes their protection. They are afraid of the outside world. They are afraid of darkness, noise and even cars on the road. Soon they are sent to either distant relatives or to other homes. When they go to schools, they are far behind the rest of the students. The stigma of illiteracy adds to that of being the child of a convict. For these children, is the new project of Ms. Roy, ‘Heart Print’. A pre-school within the Alipore Women’s Correctional Home, was set up. The aim is to give constructive activities to the young mind and preparing them for the outside world that they will have to adapt to after the age of six.

Balmiki Pratibha on Red Road at the Independence Day Parade, 15.08.2012

Mokshagati at IIM Kolkata

Kaali puja at Presidency Correctional Home, 2014.
The paintings, rangoli, decorations and the temple made and designed
by the inmates.

Kali Puja in the prisoners ward at Presidency correctional home 2014

The boys arranging the props and costumes on arrival of the venue

The girls in their dressing room

Ex-convict, trained and re-oriented by Smt. Roy, now a successful entrepreneur.

Ex-convict, trained and re-oriented by Smt. Roy, now a successful entrepreneur.

Rehearsal in presidency correctional home and performance of Dhrubojyoti Tumi Jishu

Rehearsal in presidency correctional home and performance of Dhrubojyoti Tumi Jishu

With the children of the convicts at TouchWorld Home, Narendrapur

With the children of the convicts at TouchWorld Home, Narendrapur

Some of the Touch World boys at Don Bosco, Murshidabad.

Some of the Touch World boys at Don Bosco, Murshidabad.

Inauguration of Heart Print 12th May 2015

Inauguration of Heart Print 12th May 2015

The Children at School

The Children at School

The children of Heart Print performing at Durga puja festival
by invitation from the puja organizers