Recently I had to go into that direction for a few days consecutively; due to some work. For the first time I crossed Tihar Jail, also known as Tihar Ashram. I used to be so curious while crossing that area that I wanted to peep in to their huge gates & boundary walls. There are big boards on the top of every gate, which announces “Central Jail Number-1,3,5,6,7,8,9″.
I thought across that boundary the life must be completely different, some people may have been going through the worst phases of their lives; while some would have been passing their years just to get their freedom back.
And at this side the life is as usual. Everybody is running, pacing, they don’t have time to think about anything else.
When you pass that area, you can find Tihaar Haat on the main road only. I saw it on day one & decided to go in. Finally on the last day of my visit I stopped the car & visited it.
The entrance is shady & serene and here you can find bakery products. pickles, chips, rugs, bedsheets, jute bags, incense sticks, paintings and many other things, all made by the inmates of Tihar Jail.
On the billing counter a big yellow board is hanging which reads something like, ” No one is born as a criminal, but due to some unavoidable circumstances they commit crimes. This Haat is an initiative to motivate them to do something creative & improve them as good human beings.”
I was humbled. And the paintings made by them were so good that I can’t explain. The shopkeeper told me that ma’am these are nothing, the best ones are already sold and we put frequent exhibitions in different parts of Delhi as well as NCR.
And I thought painting is a beautiful medium of expression, how the people going through such a turmoil can make such lovely paintings. May be its their spirit to tell the struggles of life that we are here to fight you back, patiently.
It was an altogether different experience for me. I bought some biscuits & incense sticks & went on my way.
Later on I searched on Wikipedia about Tihar Jail & got to know that its the biggest jail is South Asia. It’s main objective is to convert its inmates into ordinary members of the society by providing them useful skills, education & respect for the law. And that’s not all they have a prison industry within the walls, manned wholly by the inmates, which bears the brand Tihar.
And Mrs. Kiran Bedi is the person behind all this development & prisoners’ well being. She initiated a number of prison reforms at Tihar, including changing it’s name to Tihar Ashram.
Hats off to you Mrs. Bedi. We are so proud of you.
Thanks a lot for your valuable time friends.
Have a loving day ahead!!!
Sharing the image of the real paintings made by the inmates. Taken from Google.