Udhampur prisoners to brighten up Diwali from behind bars
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Last Updated: Wednesday, November 03, 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.


First Published: Wednesday, November 03, 2010, 20:06

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