This paper discusses an unusual and disturbing narrative of a young student who is incarcerated for four years in Indian jails for participating in an ideological battle with a state government that steadily escalated in violence and brought students like her in direct confrontation with the state machinery. In prison, she is categorized as a ‘political detainee’ and must await her trial which is not allowed to happen until the political dispensation changes. Killing Days is a prison memoir – not of Mitra alone but of all the women she meets and shares pain and anguish with through the period of her imprisonment. Mitra realizes that the women lodged in the prisons are more victims of exploitation and oppression than perpetrators of crime. Most of them are poor, illiterate and friendless women who have nowhere to go, no one to care for them and no access to the law. Killing Days narrates the stories of such inmates of prisons and describes the horrifying conditions of institutionalization, brutalization and exploitation that prevail in the prisons and their adjunct asylums and hospitals. Even after her release Mitra remains a prisoner of her traumatic memories. The narratives of those anonymous women of the female wards who are waiting forever for legal help must be set free before Mitra finds freedom herself.
‘And not destroyed by the destruction of the body’: Documenting Incarceration: Joya Mitra’s Killing Days.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 8(1), 256-270.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol8/iss1/19