Jail warden's work for welfare of prisoners' kids wins accolades

Inmates find new light in life thanks to Gulbarga's good Samaritan

He is a jail warden with a difference. Like the hero of V Shantaram’s film Do Aankhen Baraah Haath. 

Bestowed with benign disposition, he believes in bettering the lives of inmates, following their release, to find purpose in life thereon.

It’s no wonder that Mallikarjun Swamy, 45, Assistant Superintendent of Gulbarga Central Prison, was awarded the President’s Correctional Service Medal for meritorious service this Independence Day.

Such has been his singular service motive that, when Bangalore-based NGO – Socare India, engaged in rehabilitation of wards of convicts, wrote to all prisoners in the State in 2006, to send their children aged between 6 and10, for educational rehabilitation in Bangalore, it was Swamy, who with his persuasive skills convinced the convicts on the need to send their young ones to get education and become responsible citizens. 

A doctorate in Psychology, hailing from Dhannura (S) village in Bhalki taluk, Bidar district, Swamy, has put his doctoral background to full use in counseling convicts and their family in opting for a better future for their children. 

So much so, today, Gulbarga Central Prison boasts of the highest number of 95 children enrolled at Socare. Among them 40 are girls.

Bleak prospects

“Initially, the convicts were reluctant to send their children. I had to invest all my persuasive skills. I had to explain to them the bleak prospects their children would face if they remained uneducated and followed in the footsteps of their fathers. Finally, they gave in,’’ explains Swamy.

Even as an elated Socare managers rushed to Gulbarga to felicitate him, Swamy, on the other hand, appealed to them to start a centre in Gulbarga and Socare readily obliged. Today, its Gulbarga branch has 15 children pursuing their education.

 Swamy’s adult literacy initiative for prisoners from 2007-08 has seen 40 illiterate prisoners become literates. 

By periodic counselling to keep their morale high, he has ensured the prison housing 950 inmates is trouble-free. 

He has been responsible in securing government benefits to about half a dozen convicts, released prematurely for their good conduct.

Humble background

Himself coming from a humble rural background with his illiterate father with small agriculture holding who educated his five sons and daughter, Swamy said, “I had not seen Bangalore. The first time I visited the State capital was to attend an interview for the jailor’s post called by the KPSC in 1994-95, for which I was selected.’’

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