Colors of the Cage: A Prison Memoir of India
Arun Ferreira gives us a clear-eyed, unsentimental account of custodial torture, years of imprisonment on false cases and the flagrant violation of procedure that passes as the Rule of Law. His experience is shared by tens of thousands of our fellow countrymen and women, most of whom do not have access to lawyers or legal aid. This country needs many more books like this one.
The Maoist party had long been banned in India but holds clandestine meetings and operations which are considered India’s number one internal threat to the country as a whole. Former political prisoner Arun Ferreira has been called the mastermind behind its propaganda and communications wing. In May 2007, several newspapers around India bore the photo of the man who was being called the leader of the CPI(M) political party. The democratic rights activist was picked up at a railway station in western India, detained by the court and condemned to prison for an expanding list of crimes: criminal conspiracy, murder, possession of arms and rioting, among others.
However, the nightmare had only begun. In one of the most notorious prisons in India, Arun Ferreira was constantly abused and tortured. Over the next several years, each of the ten cases slapped against him fell apart as the courts could not find proof of its charges. At long last, Ferreira was acquitted of all charges. Moments away from his first breath of freedom, he was re-arrested by plainclothes police as he exited the prison gates. He never got a glimpse of his family who were waiting for him just outside. Determined to fight for his freedom and to condemn the system that seeks to incarcerate him and countless others, Ferreira became a free man in 2014 with the help of courageous friends and activists.
The former political prisoner reveals the horrors he faced in prison and describes how several others are facing similar situations all around India. We read in stark and riveting detail about his life as a prisoner—the torture, the beatings, the corrupt system, the codes of behavior and solidarity of fellow inmates, the strikes mounted by prisoners to protest brutality, the otherwise general air of hopelessness and the small consolations that keep hope alive.
This book is an eye-witness account of life in an Indian prison and the need for its abolition as part of a real democratic transformation of Indian society.
Authors: Arun Ferreira
Publisher: Common Notions
Release: March 2020
Size: 8.5 X 5.5
Page count: 176
Subjects: Prisons / Memoir / South Asia
About the Author
Arun Ferreira is an Indian political activist based in Mumbai. In 2007, he was branded as the leader of the propaganda and communications wing of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). He was acquitted of all charges in 2014.