In March 1891, whereas the governor of Madras was paying a go to to the native penitentiary, one of many prisoners threw the contents of a basin of ragi gruel over him and the get together who accompanied him. The person then hurled the basin on the head of the superintendent, however the vessel broke on the bars of the cell. The offender was punished.

This incident sparked a prolonged debate among the many officers of the jail and sanitation departments. Points raised included the design of the prisons, the fabric used for the manufacture of bowls, plates, and basins, and whether or not or not the prisoners needs to be given scorching meals when sure officers had been visiting them. However on the centre of the controversy was a specific dish. A bit of jail officers questioned the inclusion of gruel within the food regimen of the army prisoners.

Navy prisoners had been stored in separate prisons all through the subcontinent. After they had been initially deliberate, such amenities had been known as “Home of Correction”. The Europeans confined within the “Homes of Correction” for army offences had been troopers sentenced by court-martial for purely army offences, not adopted by dismissal from the service. A big majority of them had been confined for offences below the Delivery Act, the quantity confined for odd crimes being proportionately small.

The primary “Home of Correction” was established in Calcutta within the late eighteenth century, adopted by related institutions in Madras and Bombay.

In 1861, when the food regimen code for prisoners was determined to be applied, the meals allowances had been the identical for civilian and army prisoners. A few years later, sure slight modifications had been carried out within the quota meant for army prisoners.

In accordance with the revised dietary reforms for prisoners formulated in 1863, every army prisoner present process the punishment of solely mild quick drill was presupposed to be given 8 oz meat with out bones, 2 oz greens for soup, 8 oz potatoes, and 16 oz bread three days per week. For the remainder of the 4 days, they got 24 oz of bread. Tea, sugar, milk, and salt got every day.

The every day quota was barely elevated for prisoners present process punishment with arduous labour. Nevertheless, it was alleged, that the principles weren’t strictly adopted within the Bombay Presidency.

A separate army jail was constructed at Poona in 1875. It was the Central Navy Jail of the Bombay Presidency for the offenders among the many European troops. It was a gaggle of considerable masonry buildings alongside a rocky ridge to the south of the cantonment and close to the Wanowrie barracks.

The jail had room for 50 prisoners in two blocks, every of twenty-five solitary cells. Two extra blocks, every with twenty-five cells, had been inbuilt 1881. In addition to the 4 blocks, with twenty-five cells in every, the jail buildings included a cookhouse, work shed, chapel library and faculty, hospital with out-houses, apothecary’s quarters, and a guardhouse.

When the army jail shifted to Poona, the problem of food regimen for army prisoners gained prominence. The President of the Sanitary Fee, Dr AH Leith, wrote a letter to the secretary to the federal government, army division, observing that the meals allowed below the then-existing orders to army prisoners at arduous labour was insufficient. He demanded that particular guidelines should be formulated for the nourishment of the army prisoners.

The premise behind the particular food regimen plan was that the army prisoner, whereas disadvantaged of all superfluity, ought to but have a food regimen sufficiently nourishing to keep up his well being throughout confinement, additionally to depart him, on the shut of the time period of his punishment, with power ample to renew the duties of a soldier.

When Dr Leithe analysed the meals allowed to the prisoner in army cells, he discovered that it contained however little greater than was requisite to maintain an individual mendacity with out exertion or in a state of quietude.

Medical officers employed with the military in Poona, in coping with the instances of inanition of civil prisoners below their care, had supplemented their food regimen in numerous little methods. Across the identical time, the medical officer in command of Her Majesty’s twenty sixth Cameronian Regiment communicated to the officers in Poona the need so as to add significantly to the allowance of males below punishment, and the profit to their well being that accrued from having achieved so. The working of a greater jail food regimen than the rules formulated in Poona in 1861 and 1863 had been noticed on a bigger area within the Cameronian Regiment.

After the army jail was shifted to Poona, an experiment was carried on the market in 1882. Navy prisoners present process punishment with arduous labour had been put in a separate group. The opposite group consisted of army prisoners with out labour. The management group consisted of civilian prisoners present process arduous labour.

The labour of army prisoners, on every of six days of the week, was choosing oakum for seven and a half hours, and through two hours shot drill, during which an 18-pound shot was lifted and carried about 9 instances in a minute. They had been allowed one hour to sit down or stroll, as they happy, within the open air.

The labour of the civil prisoners was regulated in the identical manner and differed solely within the treadmill being substituted for a shot drill.

The experiment went on for a 12 months the place 335 prisoners had been stored below fixed commentary. Their food regimen was watched carefully, their weights had been checked each week. The variety of steps every prisoner took day-after-day was rigorously catalogued. The quantity of starch, carbon, and nitrogen of their meals was calculated each week.

After the experiment was over, it was concluded that the food regimen plan for the army prisoners needed to be modified to incorporate higher diet. The dietary change integrated after the experiment was the inclusion of gruel product of ragi and sooji.

It was proposed that every prisoner needs to be given 3 oz of sooji for gruel to be taken each evening. Gruel product of rice, referred to as “pej” in Maharashtra, was available throughout breakfast. One and a half oz of sugar and 1 oz of ghee was to be given to every prisoner for the gruel.

Moreover, 2 oz of pearl barley was to be given for soup. The quota of meat and greens was proposed to be elevated too.

The physicians of historical India, Greece, and Rome recognised barley’s soothing impact in relieving infected situations of the digestive tract and its nutritious advantages in enhancing efficiency and vigour. Barley water and gruel had been in style with the medieval English who used them within the sick room throughout sickness, fevers, and convalescence to hurry restoration. Nevertheless, in trendy instances, gruel had gained a sure notoriety.

Medical officers believed that gruel added to the nourishment, which tea and low didn’t. They’d seen the natives sustaining on a bowl of “pej” all through the day. Consequently, gruel changed tea and low within the breakfast within the army prisons of the Bombay Presidency. Six months later, it was proposed that the identical needs to be replicated in different Presidencies too.

Gruel continued to be part of the army prisoners’ food regimen until a prisoner threw it on the Governor in Madras. The incident pressured the sanitation division to rethink the dietary allowances. The dietary allowance chart ready by the sanitation division in 1898 doesn’t point out sooji and rice for gruel.

It’s unlucky {that a} lone incident denied the prisoners entry to ragi gruel, which was a nourishing meal.