Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living to impart training to jail inmates

SRINAGAR: In a first for Kashmir, the inmates of Srinagar and Pulwama jails will be trained in electrical and computer skills to earn a respectable livelihood once they leave prison.
This initiative of The Art of Living’s Sri Sri Rural Development Program, is part of the organisation’s worldwide project to rehabilitate prisoners which has reached out to 700,000 inmates in 45 countries.
The training will imparted through the newly opened skills training centers. The center in Srinagar was launched by DGP SK Mishra and DIG Dr MS Lone on Gandhi Jayanti and already has 50 prisoners enrolled into the various training programs being offered.
“Apart from imparting skill sets that will increase employability, the training also imparts techniques to help the prisoners deal with aggression and other negative emotions, allowing them to completely break free from violence, while vocational training allows them to find a livelihood for themselves,” said a statement by The Art of Living foundation, an international non-profit, educational, humanitarian organisation.
A cornerstone of the program is the Sudarshan Kriya. “65 independent research studies including research at Stanford, NIMHANS, and AIIMS have found that Sudarshan Kriya, a powerful breathing technique cognised by Gurudev (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar), significantly reduces stress and increases serotonin (a well-being hormone),” it said.
“The idea is to give them a constructive way to express themselves and their talents. We want them to take a fresh look at life and think positively and creatively. This skills training program is a small effort in that direction,” said Deepak Sharma, who heads The Art of Living’s nationwide rural development program.
Guided by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s belief that “inside every culprit, there’s a victim crying for help, and healing the victim makes the culprit disappear”, programs have been designed to help inmates break away from the vicious cycle of violence, using powerful breathing and meditation techniques along with vocational skills training.
In the last few years, the statement said, the organisation has been running 26 skills training centres in several states including in the Tihar and Yerawada jails and have trained more than 34,000 youth in various vocational skills.