Religion does not divide, Religion unites -- this is what Akeel Pathan, a convict of Madhya Pradesh's Gwalior Central Jail believes, and therefore has decided to read the 'Shrimad Bhagwad Gita'.
Pathan has been convicted in a murder case. A Muslim man with an urge to know the Hindu scripture, his zeal may not go down well with those who divide people on the religious lines.
Akeel says that all religions preach good things. He has been reading books in the jail and being a Muslim, his preference has been the books concerning his religion. But, now he has come across the Gita and will read it. He says that he will try to understand the teachings and accept them if he likes them.
Gwalior zone Additional Director General of Police (ADG) Raja Babu Singh has started a campaign to create awareness about the Gita among various sections of the society. He even goes to schools to talk about the "Gita Gyan" with the children. On the day of Dusshera, Singh distributed the copies along with rosary in the jail premises.
Singh said: "Gita has 18 chapters and 700 'shalokas' which can help those who have wavered from the path of righteousness. The inmates are living here because of some bad Karma and by reading Gita, they can overcome many problems like anger and desperation."
"The Gita is not just a religious book, it is a spiritual growth that a human being should accept as the life's constitution. One who goes against this constitution of the country, lands in jail. Similarly, one who violates the spiritual constitution gets stuck in this life-cycle," said Anandeshwar Das Chaitanya, a religious scholar from Vrindavan who spoke about the relevance of Gita before the jail inmates.
Like Akeel, other Muslim inmates have also expressed willingness to read the book and understand the moral.
The Central jail of Gwalior has 3,396 inmates at present, out of which 164 are women. The women inmates have 21 children with them. All the inmates, irrespective of their religion, have shown willingness to read the Gita.