‘I was imprisoned in the phansi yard’ – Sudha Bharadwaj speaks to Neeta Kolhatkar

‘I was imprisoned in the phansi yard’ – Sudha Bharadwaj speaks to Neeta Kolhatkar

Rediff.com / by Neeta Kolhatkar

‘I was told to go to the next room and strip — that’s when it really hits you for the first time… that you are a criminal and you are being treated like one.’
‘It comes as a shock when, instead of your name, you hear, “Yeh naya Maowadi aaya hai (A new Maoist has arrived)”.’

Sudha Bharadwaj speaks to Rediff.com Senior Contributor Neeta Kolhatkar about her experiences in jail. Considering prisoners are denied basic human rights – mulaqatein (meetings) with her daughter were tough – the coping mechanisms adopted by women, she says, are fascinating and have kept her going.
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E-Book: From Phansi Yard: My Year with the Women of Yerawada
By Sudha Bharadwaj (Author)

Publisher : ‎ Juggernaut (10 October 2023)
Language‏ : ‎ English
Some prisoners pray, some weep, some just put down their heads and work themselves weary. Sudha Bharadwaj watched through the bars of her cell, and she wrote. This is her remarkably granular account of the world of women prisoners in Yerawada Jail in Pune. Bharadwaj was incarcerated here, in a high-security wing called Phansi Yard, from November 2018 to February 2020. She takes us through jail life, her own and the other women’s, from one season to the next, weaving in lively portraits of her fellow prisoners, their children and even their pets, and reflecting on everything from absurd rules, caste hierarchies, food, fistfights and friendships, to the dismal absence of legal aid for the most defenceless of women.

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