Book cafe, Shimla: A Cafe operated by PRISONERS ! Prison BAKE not Break.

  2017-06-28 20:13:25   Anukanksha

Next time, on your way to Shimla , you must make a stop at the Book cafe run by prisoners. That’s right, it is the first of its kind in the country and is independently run by four inmates of the Kaithu Jail, Shimla.

Inaugurated on 17th April 2017 by the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Raja Virbhadra Singh, the cafe is located a spot called ‘Takka Bench’. With scenic mountains and lush greenery, the cafe is seated right above the iconic Shimla Ridge, once the promenade for the British colonial rulers when this city was their summer capital and on the way to the famous Jakhu temple.

Jai Chand, Yog Raj, Ram Lal and Raj Kumar, the four inmates of the Kaithu Jail, all of whom are serving life imprisonment have received the formal training by a renowned hotel, in the art of cooking and serving food. They serve delicious coffee, cookies and pizzas among other snacks and beverages. The cafe is open daily from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. At night, the prisoners return to the jail. 

The Book Café, as the name suggests, is a mini library and a paradise for book lovers as it harbours an impressive collection of books, both by national and international authors. It has books of authors like Chetan Bhagat, Nikita Singh, and French novelist Jules Verne, besides educational books, magazines and newspapers. The visitors can read books on wildlife, environment, tourism and Shimla's history while sipping coffee. As an added bonus, the cafe also has free Wi-Fi!!

Funded by tourism department of the state, the cafe has given a chance to connect to the world and to get employment once they walk out of the prison. The journey of these four inmates from their isolated cells to a world of hope will make you feel proud of the initiative taken by the state for the rehabilitation of prisoners. Jai, Yog, Ram and Raj have got a shot at a new life. They can now interact with the world outside and strive to be better. You will find many curious people coming in from all over to witness the reformation story first hand, which has proven the cafe to be a successful so far.