Udhampur prisoners to brighten up Diwali from behind bars

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - 20:06

Jammu: This Diwali, the inmates of Udhampur
district jail in Jammu will be spreading the message of love
and brotherhood, through the candles they are making for
public consumption, from behind closed walls.

Churning them out in different colours, sizes and shapes,
the inmates make 5,000-6,000 candles in a day and furnish
these with stylish looks to make them more attractive to
consumers.

The woman behind this innovative idea is Udhampur jail
Superintendent Rajni Sehgal, who has worked in Jammu and
Kashmir Prison Department in various capacities.

Sehgal, who first applied the idea with great success
at the Amphalla jail in Jammu, where she was posted earlier,
is now trying to spread the same message of love, peace and
brotherhood through the inmates of Udhampur jail.

When Sehgal was in charge in Jammu, each Diwali would
see candles made by convicts of the Jammu district jail sold
in the market under the name `Roshni`. "It means light,"
Sehgal said.

"When I got posted in Udhampur some time back, the
thought of replicating `Roshni` was in my mind and now the
inmates of this jail are making candles under a new inspiring
theme, `Parivartan` -- the change, which also means a change
in their lives this Diwali", she said.

"The candles may be bought by the general public just
to light up their homes," she said, "but to the convicts they
have a symbolic meaning of bringing change both in their own
lives and others."

Besides, it is also an attempt to make inmates
self-dependent by imparting them soft skills so that after
their release, they lead a normal life with an earning
potential, she said.

The Udhampur district jail inmates are involved in the
manufacture of a variety of candles -- from designer candles,
floating candles and many other kinds.

Sehgal said that the Udhampur district administration
has authorised jail authorities to display and sell their
candles in the stalls at cheaper rates at Subhash Stadium in
Udhampur and also in Reasi district for Diwali.

"`Roshni` is a ray of hope in the confines of this
prison and `Parivartan` is a change that can really transform
their lives," Sehgal said.

In addition to making them available in the market, a
van containing the candles will criss cross Udhampur selling
them and they will even be available in Satwari and Bakshi
Nagar areas of Jammu city, she added.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - 20:06

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