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Shadows in Cages


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 their mother.

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 TRIBUNE.

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