New Delhi ISKCON devotees kicked off a program at Tihar Jail on December 2nd with a one-hour kirtan chant, raising inmates to their feet to dance and sing along.
Jail staff were present and supportive. In his short speech Director General Shri B.K. Gupta praised ISKCON Prison Ministry’s international activities, and requested inmates to read Bhagavad-gita and chant the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra.
Special Guest Ekta Chowdhury, better known as Miss India 2009, appeared as a special guest and ISKCON emissary and presented the Director General, Inspector General of Police and Superintendent of Prisons with copies of Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Then, along with senior officials and Gita sponsors, she distributed copies to the inmates.
Although she had expressed her concerns about attending a Jail function, Miss India enjoyed the program and commented that she found the atmosphere very congenial and pleasing. In her speech following the Director General’s, she advised inmates to forget the past, think about the present and to remember Krishna always—reading His message and following His instructions in their life.
In a first for Tihar Jail, ISKCON launched A Food For Life Program at the event, with ISKCON leader Gopal Krishna Goswami committing to serve inmates of different jails every Saturday. As the announcement was made, the entire audience of inmates burst into applause.
As the program came to an end, sacred prasadam food was distributed to all the inmates, prison officials, and other VIP guests including members of the electronic and print Media, who had covered the whole event.
The Director General then announced that copies of Bhagavad-gita As It Is would be kept in the prison library, and made available to anyone who had not yet received a copy.