The life and history of Telangana prisons will come alive next month with opening of a 219-year-old jail building for public viewing on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Deemed to be country’s first ever prison museum, the Old Sangareddy jail will welcome people for the first time to explain evolution of prisons in the region.
Built in 1796 by the then Nizam’s government, the jail building spread over 3 acres, was in use till as recent as 2012 when a new jail was constructed in Kandi and inmates were shifted. Considering the heritage value and the intact nature of the building, the prisons department of the new state has decided to preserve it for future and to promote local culture, history, art and language.
The old jail was at helm of activity during the earlier Nizam’s dominion/British era and then during the Telangana struggle of 1969 where a number of freedom fighters from the region were lodged here. The jail was under direct control of the Judiciary and in 1982, it was handed over to the prisons department of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh.
Explaining more, Director General of Telangana Prisons and Correctional Services Vinoy Kumar Singh said that the building will also accommodate the art and cultural forms of the state. A sum of Rs.20 lakh was spent on transforming the heritage prison into a museum. ‘’We want to develop the prison into one of the important tourist spots in the district. In the first phase, we will display old handcuffs, weaving machines, telephones, photographs and other available artifacts. An entry fee of `5 will be collected from general public and entry would be free for schoolchildren,’’ he said.
The department will also open an outlet to sell products being made by jail inmates so as to generate revenue for maintenance. ‘’In other old prisons like Mahbubnagar, Karimnagar, Chanchalguda etc the old character is lost. Here, we have a heritage building that is still intact without any changes. This will be the first of its kind museum in the country,” he added. Various punishment methods too will be explained to the public using photographs and literature.
Spread across 3 acres and 10 guntas, the historic building was built in stone, sand, wood and lime mortar. It has 9 barracks including a separate female barrack, punishment cell, a staff quarters, kitchen, toilets and a watch tower. The initial capacity of the prison was said to be 90 male inmates and 5 female inmates. ‘’In 1947, the prison was under the direct control of district collector and in 1969, it was under the Judiciary and one Ramnath, who was civil surgeon was the superintendent,” said Santhosh Kumar Roy, district sub jail officer, Old District Jail Sangareddy.
Some of the names of freedom fighters who were lodged here during the independence struggle, Telangana armed struggle and separate state movement, according to data available are Chola Lingaiah, Datti Kistaiah, Godila Lingaiah Goud, Etla Guruva Reddy etc. Records here say that ex-Sangareddy MLA and former speaker of erstwhile AP Assembly P Ramachandra Reddy too was lodged here during the separate state movement in 1969.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Telangana / by Rahul V. Pisharody / January 14th, 2015