Third master's degree awarded to a former Maoist in Hyderabad

PBV Ganesh, 56, was sentenced to life in 1995 for shooting down then Ongole MP Magunta Subbarami Reddy . During his prison term, he also obtained two masters degrees in sociology and political science .

HYDERABAD: From a gun-toting Maoist convicted of the murder of a parliamentarian in Ongole to a 56-year-old PBV Ganesh, a triple masters degree holder, has gone a long way from guerrilla warfare to academic achievement.At the 24th convocation ceremony of Dr. BR Ambedkar Open University in Cherlapally on Saturday, he was one of 14 Cherlapally prison inmates receiving their masters degree.Ganesh, who was sentenced to life in 1995 for shooting down then Ongole MP Magunta Subbarami Reddy, has since been awarded an MSc in psychology.During his prison term, he also obtained two masters degrees in sociology and political science from the same varsity.

If I am freed this year, I will pursue a doctorate in political science or psychology, Ganesh said, referring to his wife at the convocation function.When he shot the MP and was later sentenced to life, he was just a 27-year-old physics graduate.Ganesh wasnt the only proud student from Cherlapally jail.Amer Mohammed Jamal, a 38-year-old life prisoner, was among the commemoration attendees.

Jamal said my father would have been proud if he were alive.My father was an Arabic scholar at Osmania University, and he said, We are an academically inclined family.After graduating from Muffakham Jah College, I worked in tech firms before leaving for prison.To fulfill my fathers dream, I want to pursue my doctorate.

Although the degree aided Ganesh and Jamal in their academic pursuits, it was also the first of its kind experience for 29-year-old D Santosh Kumar, who is aiming to get a job once he is free.Since being sentenced to death as an 18-year-old, he continued his studies in prison.I have made an appeal and am hoping to retire one day.He says, I want to teach Telugu to children and earn a living.

This is the first time we have offered an MSc (psychology) to detained prisoners in Telangana.V K Singh, then director general of jails, opened a fully operational psychology laboratory in 2018, where experiments and investigations were carried out in prison.Up to 26 students have graduated from the course in two batches since then, and a new batch is enrolled in the program, according to professor Beena Chintalapuri, an Ashoka Fellow and emeritus professor who is the course coordinator.According to the course coordinator, prisoners from other jails taking the course are transferred to Cherlapally central prison for a four-month hands-on study.