Image/News Source: indiatimes
Yes, this is the unique story of Firoz Khan alias Bunty who was a hardened criminal convicted for kidnapping and awarded life sentence. Along with five other partners in crime he had kidnapped a businessman from Etah in 2001. “But they managed to trick the court and I failed. All the others were freed while the judge awarded me life imprisonment in September 2010.” This landed him in jail. Since December, 2014, he has been lodged in Agra central jail.
Firoz, 35, confesses that in the initial days of his jail term he was depressed. He felt lonely, but he met a fellow prisoner who was a devotee of goddess Durga of Hindus. “He enlightened me and showed me the right path which is to seek forgiveness from the lord”. However, the technique he used in order to seek his salvation makes him stand out. He carved out a small statue of Durga using his bathing soap provided to him by the jail administration. A cake of soap was the only malleable material available to him. It turned out to be a marvel!
The fascination with his first success inspired him to steal the bathing soaps of all his fellow prisoners to satisfy his creative urge – a price his fellow inmates in the prison have to pay for Bunty’s hobby. Every morning they find they find their soaps missing. “We do not go anywhere except Firoz’s barrack if we couldn’t find our soaps. We know, there is just one soap thief in the jail,” says Ravi lovingly about Bunty. Ravi is his best friend in Agra central jail.
Since then he has made a dozen of beautiful idols including Hanuman’s mace, an idol of Bharat Mata, goddess Durga and Asokan pillar, too. He made his contribution to this year’s Diwali celebrations in the jail by preparing one foot tall idols of Lakshmi and Ganesh.
What a unique way to cleanse one’s conscience indeed!! The icing on the cake is that he does not believe in the narrow diktat of following the gods of one’s own religion. God is a Supreme Being – one for all religions – and it does not matter which God one believes in. The real God resides in one’s conscience and one has to find the ways to seek Him. Bunty sought him through his idol making craft, setting an example of communal harmony and oneness of all religions.
No wonder he has left all his fellow inmates as well as jail authorities impressed with his talent. “He is brilliant. We are all surprised how he did this. He sits in a corner for hours. He made a mistake in his youth but he must be given a chance to correct it,” said jailor Lal Ratnakar Singh.
As a partial form of redemption at least, the jail authorities have decided to promote his unique craftsmanship. To do this, they have contacted two NGOs who can showcase his craftsmanship at right forums. According to the jailor, already some of his carvings have been sent to people who had been interested in a few pieces and wanted more. The NGO will further connect Firoz with art lovers who are interested in getting his artefacts.
Well, The Logical Indian community hopes that the endeavours of the authorities to showcase his talent bear fruits and bring him mental and emotional peace and satisfaction!