Tihar, the biggest jail in Asia, known for housing some of the most dreaded criminals, is also known for unique vocational training programmes, innovations of inmates and their out-of-the-box approach that keeps making parallel news more often than not.
In February 2017, a fashion lab equipped with pattern-making tools and sewing kits was set up in the jail’s section for women inmates. The women were acquainted with the art, aesthetics and science of fashion and were taught the art of designing clothes.
A group of women underwent training in designing. They were helped to hone their skills as part of the jail’s rehabilitation programme.
After the completion of the course the administration of Tihar jail organised a fashion show to showcase the designs of these inmates. After completion of their certificate course in fashion designing, the inmates also paraded with models wearing their own designs.
The fashion show may not have made it to Delhi’s fashion calendar, but the women prisoners of Tihar made sure that it was exactly like a professional ramp show, when they presented their debut khadi collection at Dilli Haat, Janakpuri.
And now taking one step further, Tihar Jail is in the process of making another history. The female inmates of Jail No 6 are now designing costumes, under mentorship of renowned fashion designer Winky Singh, for Hindi feature film Marksheet.
The film is inspired by real life events, where a timid village school boy goes on to become the man who almost wipes out the reliability of India’s management, engineering and medical studies institutions.
The film’s shooting will start by July and will be ready for release by the end of 2018. This will the first ever movie in the world, where jail inmates will design the entire costume.
Speaking on this occasion, Ajay Kashyap, DG (P) said, “We got a request from the makers of Marksheet and we readily agreed because it will showcase the talent of inmates, give them recognition and inspire others. It would also serve the eventual purpose of our reform initiatives.”
The cast and crew also visited the Tihar jail last month and appreciated the move to support such a social cause. “You can’t but appreciate when you come across the wonderful designs that have been showcased in the Fashion Lab inside the jail,” stated by actor Imran Zahid.
“The ones who have accepted their deeds and are ready to face consequences for atonement are worthy to design clothes for a film that has a strong message for society on the significant issue like crime in education,” added the writer of this film Dinesh Gautam.
The jail authorities propose to go beyond designing for the film. According to DIG (P) S S Parihar, “We will try to use the talent and participation to the maximum for all female inmates of the Tihar involved in preparation of the costume, designing, stitching and cutting, as well as making gems and jewellery and all other accessories-related activities, to promote their confidence and skill.”