Apart from serving their time inside the prison, convicts in Beur central prison near Patna are seeking penance for their crimes through an age old practice in which they pluck the leaves of ‘Kali Tulsi’ or ‘Holy Basil’ which is then offered at the feet of lord Hanuman at the famous Mahavir temple of Patna. According to prison officials, this age old practice has been going on for many years and is passed on from one group of prisoners to others once the current lot is freed, transferred to other prison or executed. The Superintendent of Beur Jail, Rupak Kumar, who joined the position early this year, said that the prisoners seeksalvation and spiritual satisfaction from this activity. “They get up every morning, take bath and then pluck Tulsi leaves from the plants that are planted inside the prison compound. Later, these leaves are cleaned and packed and delivered to Mahavir Mandir by one of our staff where they are given to the devotees as Prasad after the religious puja”, Kumar said. According to people who have lived in Patna for long, these Tulsi leaves were first collected from Bankipore prison that was situated less than 500 meters from Mahavir Mandir. However, in the 1960s the prison in Bankipore was demolished and shifted to Beur. Right now, two prisoners, Santosh Kumar and Ramashray Yadav, who are convicted in separate murder cases, are the ones who take the initiative to pluck the Tulsi leaves. Prison officials said that no one knows when this practice of plucking Tulsi leaves and sending it to Mahavir Mandir started. “The date of the building of Mahavir Mandir itself is unknown, but it was built way back in the 1900s. So it is quite possible that this tradition has been going on since then. It has been going on ever since I came to know about it 15 years ago”, said Kumar. The prison officials encourage the prisoners to become a part of this tradition as it helps the prisoners in spending their time in the prison.