Suruchi Gupta

Nigel Akkara’s Life’s Few Pages…

by on Jan.16, 2011, under Experiences, Interviews

Nigel Akkara in my opinion, is a motivation, an inspiration to the world. Certainly more than any journalist’s story or interview. Many do wrong, but to own it up and try to correct it, make world a better place, is a matter of courage. Nigel has done it. I heard of Nigel’s life from a dear friend. Wanted to meet and hear it from him too. Got the opportunity to see the documentary The Jail made on him and his ‘prison’ mates while under the mentor-ship. A lot more can be written merely on the experience of talking with him, but I stop here. Underwritten is a piece I wrote on him. For the purpose of news, the story was edited from being a human-interest story to a rising-entrepreneur story and published on December 19, 2010 of Hindustan Times main edition page 4. Thanks to Mr. Anirban Chowdhury for allowing me to do this one! Also, thanks to my my friend for helping me on it! Here it goes…

A post graduate in Human Rights and a commerce graduate from St Xavier’s, Kolkata, Nigel Akkara, aged 31 today, has been through a journey of demonic to the divine as he got convicted and acquitted from 18 court cases – including murder and kidnappings – against him. “The lawyers in Kolkata are not like the one’s you watch in films. I fought three of my cases myself, where self defence was permitted. For the others, I constantly gave my lawyer the points he put up in court. Due to lack of enough evidence, I was acquitted after a six-year long fight, in July 2009,” says Nigel. He was arrested in 2000.

Today, proprietor of Kolkata Facilities Management, a firm which offers house-keeping, pest-control and landscaping services, this man owes his being to danseuse Alokananda Roy, whose cultural therapy program in Kolkata’s prisons reformed the ‘feared criminal’ in him.

“Although a computer literate and well-educated, no one was ready to give me a job after I came out of jail (and was reformed). My friends from old days even offered to give me a good salary without working, while other big or small corporate houses I approached refused to employ me when I shared my history with them openly. Then, I thought about those who are illiterate and earn a living by cleaning and related jobs. Thus, the idea of this agency came, which I started in July 2010 with a loan from my mother and brother,” says Nigel.

He has stopped looking for a job finally, and employs a staff of 22, with a back-up of 30 more for one-time house-cleaning requirements. His employees include ex-convicts among professionals. They are serving places like RN Tagore group and Titan watch showroom among others. “This is my sole source of income today, while I do voluntary work for other organisations like project administration for Touch World,” shares Nigel.

While in his teens, Nigel got greedy for money (for luxury) and power, which drove him to commit crimes. “Then, my monthly expenses was two lakh, as I lived in three-star hotels and roamed in expensive cars. Today, it is Rs 2000. I essentially need money for buying oil for my bike, and aggarbatti for meditation.”

The Jail, a documentary made on his transformation and Alokananda’s efforts has won prestigious awards at Golden Gate Award, Strasbourg International Documentary Festival and the International short Film Festival of India, among others.

But one may think that reformation has come at a price for him. “No, I do not have friends. I have colleagues. And I do not want to marry anyone as I do not want to be bound to anyone. I have two mothers  (one, biological and the other being Alokananda, whom he calls Ma) and God with me now,” shares Nigel.

And he has an opinion on the education system today. “I do not blame anyone for what I did, but I believe that the school has 50% responsibility of what a child grows up to be. There is too much pressure from the school, as a result of which students go into depression.”

Contributing in his own way to the society, this man wants to tell everyone that one should be treated according to the treatment they need.

Added inputs for this blog-site: Nigel shared that he knows a young school girl, who scores over 70% in her exams. But she is facing parents call in school as the school demands 75% or more. Even while he was present at the press-conference with a large number of school-principals around him, he openly shared his opinion on the context : schools have a major role to play in a child’s success or failure.

It was pretty interesting to find out that as a student of St. Xavier’s, Kolkata – known for its strict discipline –  he had devised means for escaping classes all together.  Many more interesting facts on the man await being written…

Copyrights@ HT Media Ltd.

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8 comments for this entry:
  1. minu

    truly inspiring….gr8 going

  2. Romuald Savio Alvares

    Nigel…

  3. Indrajeet Kumar Das

    Great story…………. really inspiring

  4. Romuald Savio Alvares

    Nigel is a very talented young man and I’m sure the best in his life is yet to come. I wish him all the luck and success in life.

    Cheers mate!

  5. saubhik

    great act….fascinating tale of human endeavour

  6. shakila

    His story is truly inspiring and I wish him all the luck!!

  7. Pritam Karkun

    Hi,

    This is nice reading. I was just googl-ing and found your article.

    I have one request to you. It will be comfortable reading if the page background color will be in white and texts are in black.

    Thanks

    Pritam

  8. pousima sen

    all the best to Nigel..

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