Shimla: It was a momentous day for
13-prisoners in Himachal Pradesh who became a part of
"prisoners band" to participate in the Republic Day parade at
Shimla and marched to the tunes of `Sare Jahan se Accha
Hindustan Hamara` at historic Ridge Maidan here on Sunday.
Led by Ram Krishan, a murder convict, these prisoners from
Kanda Jail, Shimla and central Jail, Nahan created a history
of sorts by joining the march-past before the Governor Urmilla
Singh who was the chief guest at the state level function.
Clad in impeccable white dress with striped band on the
wrist, the prisoners, said they never thought even in their
dreams that they would get such an honour during their life
It was a proud moment for the prisoners who not only got
an opportunity to come out from the jail but also got a rare
chance to showcase their skills, said Veer Singh, a prisoner.
"One mistake in life can turn everything topsy-turvy but
learning music and playing band while undergoing imprisonment
has changed our life and outlook and our urge to reform has
sharpened", said Ram Singh, another inmate.
"My initial years in jail were quite perturbing. But when
I got a chance to play music, I got an opportunity to live and
think in a different way," said another convict Labh Singh.
Additional director general of police (ADGP), Sita Ram
Mardi said that it was for the first time in the history of
the country that "reformed prisoners" have taken part in
Republic Day parade.
Mardi said an orchestra band had been set up by the prison
department at Nahan and the prisoners are allowed to go
outside the jail for performances and earn some money.
The band can be hired for functions like weddings,he said.
"The band members went through rigorous practice and
rehearsal and till the last minute we were apprehensive about
their selection but finally they were in and today their dream
has come true", Mardi added.
Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh, ministers, MLAs,
Mayor and deputy Mayor of Municipal Corporation, dignitaries’
civil and military officers were present on the occasion.