To My children...
as and when you remember & My children in Prison... if and when you forget.
Shadows In Cages, is a book
on mother and child living in Indian Prisons. In India, a woman prisoner can keep her
child, with her in prison, till the child reaches the age of five. It throws light, on the
emotional aspect, where mother and child, in Indian prisons are concerned. I have visited
prisons in India and interacted with numerous women inmates and their children. The book
reveals the prison conditions, insecurities, trials, joys, hopes and dreams that women
inmates feel and share with their children.
Interviews with prisoners,
children, social workers, prison authorities and lawyers, make for a very interesting read
and a deep emotional experience. I, with tenderness and humour, take my readers on a
journey, that touches the soul and leaves one frequently with an ache in the heart and
tears in the eyes.
Why The Book?
In early 1994, as the Chief Editor, Pune Tribune, I read a Press clipping, about mother
and their children in Yerwada Prison. For a While, I thought it was a printing error. I
couldn't believe that children stayed in prison, and had to obey all the rules and
regulations that were applicable to their imprisoned mothers. But what really disturbed me
was the thought, that after they reached the age of five, they would be separated from
After spending five intimate
years, day and night together, and then being separated...who knows...maybe forever,
affected my very being. Anyway, life moved on. Sometimes, the image of mother and child in
prison would surface in my mind, but for a fleeting moment, to be wiped out by the ground
realities of my life. A few years back, periodically, my mind would drift to that news
clipping. I remember I had edited and published that small news item, but obviously,
somewhere in the soil of my sub-conscious, the seeds for this book and the documentary had
been sowed. I assumed that by writing the book and directing the film, the image of mother
and child, would be exorcised. I couldn't have been further from the truth. It has been a
long journey, but something tells me, that it has only just begun. I hope, this journey,
to want to make a difference, no matter what...begins for you too.
This book focuses... on the
plight of neglected and often forgotten mothers, who find themselves in Indian Prisons,
many not even convicted, but merely awaiting trial. Whatever they may have done or are
accused of doing, these women remain human beings like the rest of us, concerned for their
families and children and seeking affection and solace themselves. I hope this book,
Shadows In Cages, will inspire more individuals to help others in trouble, who can no
longer easily help themselves. - His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
As Inspector General,
prisons, Tihar Jail, I observed what a disaster it was to have children living with their
mothers, in prisons, that lacked virtually everything which was required for a healthy
childhood. Ruzbeh's work is original and an expose of a serious concern. Locked behind the
high walls, (almost) inaccessible to the community, his work will help stir the
insensitive and the sensitive, alike, to be proactive in piercing through the walls. He
writes from the heart and Shadows In Cages is a labour of love. - Dr. Kiran Bedi.
It's the story of the pain
and anguish that mother and child suffer in Indian prisons. Their misery has been captured
by Ruzbeh N Bharucha in his book Shadows in Cages, which looks at the "emotional
aspect" of the mother-and-child in Indian prisons as they live through insecurities,
joy, hope and dreams. Shadows in Cages reveals the prison conditions, provides interviews
with prisoners, children and social workers in the sector and takes the reader through an
emotional journey of life and its pain - THE HINDU.
Based on the accounts of
women and children in prisons such as Yerwada in Pune, Tihar Jail in New Delhi and prisons
in Haryana and Srinagar, the book deals with real life inmates and the day-to-day life of
their children behind bars - SUNDAY MID-DAY.
This book undoubtedly shakes
the reader deep inside and is presented in a very impressive and a tender manner. - DAINIK