The Punished: Stories Of Death-Row Prisoners In India by Jahnavi Misra- A Review

Imagine you are in the prison for a crime you didn’t commit, the police doesn’t find anything against you but you’re still not granted bail. What? You don’t have to imagine it because it’s actually happening to Munawar Faruqui? I see! Well, something similar or much worse has happened to so many and this book talks about them. We have stories of false convicts, wrongly accused criminals, the police picking up someone just on the basis of circumstantial evidence to close a case and not even investigating properly and the fact that someone can actually be innocent is overlooked time and again.

‘The Punished’ by Jahnavi Misra is a book that’s one of its kind. This is a book that lets you in the minds of death row prisoners and their families. This is a book about people who you and I have wanted to kill but it’s not just about them, it’s quite a lot about us, about who we are as a society and how we are so quick to judge. These are real life stories of people who are given death penalty, yes but these are stories that are deep and very personal. The stories are written in a way that there are times they make you feel helpless and at other times your heart breaks. The ones that talk about the falsely accused and the ones where the accused is not even able to understand what happened in the court proceedings because of the language barrier.

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You know these people are already dead when you’re reading about them. Some of them committed the crimes they are ‘punished’ for but there are so many who are just dragged to the court because the police had the slightest doubt on them and were eager to close a case. You know there’s no hope for these people yet once you start reading you just don’t feel like stopping. More than anything these stories seem like an appeal to the humane side of all of us to know about people who are given death sentences and to be a little less judgmental and a lot more open minded. 

I’d recommend it to everyone who wants to read more nonfiction or have a better understanding of people who we want to kill.

Thanks to Harper Collins for sending me a copy!

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