Indian-born former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta, who served 19 months in a US jail for insider trading, described his solitary confinement in prison as torturous and extremely hard. He said it was like being on Vipassana (an ancient meditation ritual for eight weeks, involuntarily.
During his 19-month prison term in Ayer, Massachusetts, Mr Gupta was sent to solitary confinement thrice by the jail authorities.
"Solitary confinement is quite an extraordinary experience. It's like being on Vipassana for eight weeks involuntarily," he said, making a reference to the ancient meditation ritual.
During a discussion at the book launch of his memoir ''Mind Without Fear'' organised by leading arts and cultural organisation The Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) in New York, Mr Gupta said he had thought solitary confinement would be a very quiet place but instead found it to be "extraordinarily noisy" with inmates in adjoining cells "going crazy" and banging the steel doors and beds.
"I could sense that it's quite an extraordinary hardship and torture," he said, adding that he read the Bhagwad Gita several times during his solitary confinement that helped him cope with the tough situation.
He said he was sent to solitary confinement for three days before he was let into the prison as the prison officials wanted to check him for Tuberculosis. "It's crazy because. Why could I not have given a doctor's certificate to say I don't have TB? The real purpose is to scare you, to break your spirit."
The second instance when he was given solitary was because he was tying his shoe laces when there was a count going on and all the inmates were supposed to stand straight. He spent a week in solitary confinement.
"The last one was even worse," Mr Gupta said as he recalled that he was sent a third time to solitary confinement for seven weeks because he had made a pillow by sowing together two towels, which he bought from the prison commissary, to help him with his back pain.