The Story of Cellular Jail: Kaala Paani

In the past, the punishment of Kaala paani was dreaded by the prisoners. It is known as the cellular jail of today. The jail is located in Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The British imprisoned Indian freedom fighters in this jail as it was located far away from mainland India. The name Kaala Paani (translates to Black Water in English) signifies Kaal, referring to time or death. The name signifies a Place of death from where no one returns!


Indian freedom fighters were tortured in this cellular jail. The British laid the foundational stone of this jail in 1897 AD. It was completed in 1906. It has 698 cells of 15 × 8 feet. The skylights in these cells are three meters high so that no prisoner could talk to another prisoner.


A vast sea surrounds the jail. One can only see seawater for several kilometres. It was not easy for anyone to overcome it. The boundary of the prison was intentionally made very small. It was easy for anyone to cross it initially. But, it was almost impossible to escape after getting out of the boundary. There was no way to cross the sea.

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The jail was called cellular for a specific reason. Every prisoner was kept in separate cells so that they could not talk to each other. Such conditions made prisoners feel alone, and it was terrible for them.A large number of prisoners died in this prison. The records for many of these deaths were not found anywhere. That’s by this prison is a dark chapter in Indian history.