Mumbai Sarvodaya Mandal has been organising many programmes in jails with the aim of transforming jail inmates. Swati Sathe Superintendent of Arthur Road Jail has suggested that Mumbai Sarvodaya Mandal teach an all religion prayer to 2800 inmates of different religions. The prayer has been tailor-made for these inmates with the aim of spreading communal harmony within the jail. The Sarva Dharma Prarthna as it will be called, will have contributions from all religions and will be recited by the inmates every morning.
"We will organise the prayers at 9am everyday through our public address system installed in the jail so that inmates of every barrack can recite it at the same time. The objective behind starting this is to spread brotherhood among the inmates and for their mental peace. Also, it will help increase respect for each other’s religion," said Sathe.
The task of preparing a common prayer has been assigned to Bombay Sarvoday Mandal, a trust that preaches Gandhian philosophy and is active in various jails in Maharashtra. Gandhiji believed that all religions teach the same moral values and that we should respect other religions equally. “We have prepared a common prayer in Hindi with preaching’s from Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain and Tavo religions. Pamphlets of the prayer will be distributed to everyone inside the jail," said Mr T.R.K. Somaiya, programme coordinator of the Mandal. According to Somaiya, initially a person from the mandal will visit the jail every day and train several inmates on how to recite the prayer. There are more than 20 barracks in the jail with over 100 inmates in each barrack. "The prayer shall not be compulsory as many have to go for work inside the jail. But so far we have received good feedback from them," Ms Sathe said.
Source: The Asian Age dated 9-4-2008