Inside the Minds of India’s Death Row Convicts


Inside the Minds of India’s Death Row Convicts

Illustration: Mudit Ganguly


nup Surendranath’s first interview was with a boy who would keep telling him that he was looking after his friend, a little bird. Although the boy couldn’t tell him how old he was, Surendranath was sure he was a juvenile. The boy said he had travelled by a jahaaz to Assam, and that he didn’t know where he was. All he knew was that he was waiting to be executed.

The boy with the avian friend was only the first of 150 death row convicts that Surendranath would interview. Triggered by the secrecy surrounding Afzal Guru’s execution, Surendranath, who teaches constitutional law at the National Law University Delhi set off on a mission to uncover what goes on in the death barracks of India with The Death Penalty Research Project.