Black warrant: Confessions of a Tihar Jailer by Sunil Gupta and Sunetra Choudhury is easily one of my best reads of 2019 in non-fiction category.

I have always loved reading about the the true crimes. I remember going crazy about the cases of Ramakant Kulkarni and buying the book Footprints on the sands of crime. Post that if I fell in love with any other book then it has to be Black Warrant. The book details the life of a jailer. Sunil Gupta served as a Tihar Jailer all his life. Right from his induction to his retirement, the book discusses the cases that Tihar has witnessed. The encounter with Charles Sobhraj, the case of Billa and Ranga, the plight of Nirbhaya’s rapists, Afzal Guru’s last days in the prison etc. are some of the cases discussed at length in this book.

The writing is understandable and gets one involved. The author balances out the seriousness by tossing in a few funny incidences. Throughout the authors bring out the reality still unheard of. What’s interesting is that a place with hardened criminals isn’t averse to love and relationships! Gupta helps us understand that sacrifices the family of a Jailer has to make and the sacrifices the Jailer has to make, keeping his family man attire aside.

What’s more interesting is that the book speaks of death penalty, the process of hanging, the rituals of a hangman etc. The chapter The Anatomy of Hanging makes these brutal revelations and helps us understand the storm that’s brewing over the unavailability of a “qualified hangman” in our country to carry out the execution.

We don’t give much thought to the criminals and their life in a jail but have we ever thought about the ghosts of the criminals who die in the jail or are hanged? The book shares such few incidences adding to the thrill and the reading experience. And it speaks of sodomy and why some prisoners get privileges like home cooked meal, custodial deaths etc.

The book keeps the entertainment quotient high.The book is filled with information from cover to cover. From this book we are acquainted with the fact that the judiciary and the jail staff consider jails as some sort of correctional centers. While some stories put you in awe, there are some stories that give you the chills and some that make you numb. What I loved the most about the book is that Gupta accepts the mistakes of Tihar’s apathy and lack of attention.

Overall, this book is revelations galore and it can be a tad controversial too. The author simply bares it all and that makes this one a delightful and a satisfying read and a page turner at that.

This book is best finished in a single sitting.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Publisher: Roli Books
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