[A letter to the editor published in the Bangla Magazine, Arek Rokom—আরেক রকম, Volume 16. 2013. Our gratitude to poet Mridul Dasgupta for bringing this to our notice.]
Your first year’s first publication, dated January 1, 2013 has recently reached me here at Cell No. 10, Raipur Central Jail. As I was reading it I felt society’s call will not go unheeded; your multifaceted effort will be rewarded. That it is possible to bring together under one banner people of divergent beliefs and ideas is evident from the list of your contributors and from the welcome variations and originalities of the subject matter of the writings.
After a lot of struggle and tussle with jail authorities, I have got the permission to read legitimate and kosher books and journals written in the Bangla language. There is no regularity though. My age is 70 at this time. I wish to keep myself active by maintaining my regular reading habits. I get to know very little of the world outside. The newspapers that the authorities give are so scratched and scraped in the name of censoring that one does not even feel like touching them, let alone reading them.
I do not know whether you will consider me a political prisoner. I am a member of the Indian Communist Party (Maoist). On April 30, 2011, I was arrested from Katihar. After being incarcerated in Bhagalpur Jail for a year, they deported me here to Raipur Central Jail. I feel that they will keep on moving me around from one jail to another all my life. I am writing this note with a lot of caution and wariness. But it is a happy fortuity that there is no dearth of well-wishers. This letter proves that. The bottom-line is that it is my earnest request to you that in the name of Social Study Trust, if you would kindly keep sending me journals, magazines, essays, fiction and poetry books in English, Bangla and even in Hindi, I shall be ever grateful. I am writing under strict vigilance; so please ignore all my errors and mistakes.
My nephew visits me once every two or three months. He will again come in July. I shall ask him to pay off your subscription cost when he arrives. One final request: it would be really nice if you could sometimes think of those imprisoned far away in jails.
Raipur Central Jail