GUWAHATI: It was a unique experience for the jail inmates at Central Jail Guwahati. They would have never imagined to have a film screening inside the jail for them.

But all thanks to the Krishna Kanta Hendiqui State Open University (KKHSOU) and Film and Cultural Society of North East (FCSNE) to make it happen for them. They organized a documentary festival along with a counselling programme.

The organizers said it will continue for several other jails across the state.

“We wanted to reach out to those learners whom we felt mainstream education has left behind. But then we realised that learners in our study centres in various jails are the ones who are generally far away from the benefits of any initiative. Hence, we decided that this documentary film festival, started in memory of late Brojen Baruah, must begin at the jails of Assam,” said Hitesh Deka, the Vice Chancellor of the KKHSOU.

During their event at Guwahati Central Jail recently renowned filmmaker, Jahnu Barua was present among others. Altogether five documentaries were screened.

Hitesh Deka said that study centres of the Open University will deliver its services in every jail of the state and has already started functioning in thirteen jails of the state. “A proposal of offering free study facility is also on the cards,” he said.

The screening has also been conducted in Mangaldoi jail. “I compliment the university for thinking out of the box and starting this initiative. Most universities generally confine their role to education thereby missing out on these social and inclusive initiatives. It is also overlooked that documentaries are a wonderful education tool. I hope educational institutions, both in the public and private domains shall take to documentaries with an object to build character, and educate,” said multiple national award winning Jahnu Barua.

For the organizers too it was a great experience to interact with the inmates and listen to their story.

“It was an eye-opener for us as well. Contrary to our understanding, the inmates were in no way different to those whom we have reached out so far across the country. Their intellectual and social understanding is at times, sharper than the general viewers we meet in institutions and organisations,” said FCSNE secretary Rahul Jain.