South Asia’s largest prison, Tihar Jail in New Delhi, home to 12,113 prisoners, has slowly evolved as a microcosm in itself that allows prisoners to re-build their lives and redeem their criminal past. Now, a coffee-table book conjures up vividly the life inside the famous prison and how reforms have transformed the lives of its inmates. The book is a celebration of the innate human talent for reinvention and portrays prisoners’ thirst for a more meaningful and productive life.
Fittingly, Kiran Bedi, India’s first woman police officer who pioneered prison reforms during her stint as the Inspector General of Prisons (1993-1995), was present at the launch of the book in Delhi JUNE 18, which was also attended by, among others, BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi.
Thanks to imaginative reforms of Bedi, who is now an activist-turned-politician, Tihar Jail defies stereotypes and is now full of prisoners who are trying out new ideas and pushing the envelope of creativity. This urge to invent and innovate is crystallized in the brand, called TJ, which was also launched at the event. Be it furniture, snacks, decorative items, handloom clothing and toiletries, one can see the stamp of creativity in these products manufactured by the Tihar jail inmates.
Contrary to the sense of gloom and doom prisons evoke, the atmosphere at the launch of the book was one of camaraderie and joyous singing and dancing. Tihar’s in-house band, Flying Souls, also performed at the launch to enthrall the crowd. The event ended with a fashion show, which featured trendy clothes designed by prisoners trained under celebrity fashion designer Rina Dhaka.
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