In a Press Interview, Osho speaks to journalists sent by the Punjab Kesari, a Hindi newspaper, who had asked him about his health. Osho mentions his time during the twelve days he has spent in US jails.
…It was this situation [that the Kutch project fell through] that I had to go America, because Oregon has the same climate as Kutch. Otherwise Oregon has no interest for me; it is a desert. But it helped me. For four years I was free of back pain, I was free of all allergies, I was free of asthma attacks. But, that does not mean they were cured. That simply means the controlled atmosphere. But once I am out of the controlled atmosphere, immediately the trouble is there.
But these twelve days have been of immense help. First, I could see that a country like America, which pretends to be the biggest democracy in the world, is not democratic. It is simply a hypocrisy.
Secondly I could see that American bureaucracy and government is not only deceiving the whole world; it is also deceiving its own people. The people are beautiful. They are just as loving as anywhere else, perhaps more. But they are not aware what is happening behind walls.
Thirdly, I became aware that in five jails, which were the biggest jails in America, not a single white prisoner. It seems all the crimes are committed by the blacks; that no white commits any crime. It made me clear that those jails are not for criminals, but for those people who they want to repress.
And I came across people in the jails who said, “We have been six months here, nine months here, waiting for the trial.” Pre-trial arrest is absolutely inhuman. You should bring the person to the court first, and if the court sentences him that’s perfectly okay. But you are already punishing him. You have punished nine months a person, without even telling him what he has done.
And all the jails were full of black people; totally, not a single exception.
Fourthly I saw that the inmates in the jail who are thought to be criminals are far more human, far more loving, than the people who are pretending to be democrats, humanitarian, and are trying to save the whole world. I would ask for a toothpaste, or for a brush, or for a comb, or for a soap, and it will take two days that a brush will appear. But there is no toothpaste. Then the toothpaste will appear. But when I asked the jail authorities, the inmates heard and they started bringing things.
They say, “Bhagwan this is absolutely fresh, we have not used it, and those people are really ugly with you because when we ask they immediately give us, and when you ask it takes two days for them to bring a toothbrush.” So I got everything from the inmates; the soap, the toothbrush, the comb, or anything that I needed; not from the authorities.
And they are all so happy that I am with them, and they said, “Now that we don’t think this place as a jail. If you are here it has become a temple for us.” Small gestures of love; somebody will bring a flower which he has picked while he has gone for the lunch, and I saw the other world that perhaps exists in every country, the world of the criminals.
They are our brothers and our sisters, and we have put them in such a situation that they are almost another world, they are not part of this world, nobody knows about them, what is happening to them.
If they can try to torture me, who was in the eyes of the whole world; thousands of telegrams every day, thousands of telephones every day, and the whole jail was surrounded by the press people; if they can torture me, or try to torture me, what they will be doing with these poor people, who nobody knows, who nobody will ever inquire whether they are alive or dead?
Excerpt from Osho, The Last Testament, Vol 4, Ch 20 Chapter – 28 November 1985
Text and audio kindly prepared by Astrid