Tihar inmates turn designers, models

Ali Maula...Ali Maula...Ali Maula, a song from the Bollywood film Kurbaan played in the background as models – tall and good looking, sashayed the ramp in the latest collection, all made from pure khadi, for this fashion show.

Talking about models the first names and the svelte personas that comes to mind are of Carol Gracias and Indrani Dasgupta.

But these models, though slim and attractive, are a bit ‘different’.

Though they are the inmates of Tihar Jail, they are high on fashion and walked the ramp with all the confidence of professional models.

The sultry Saturday evening was somewhat enlivened for some when South Asia’s largest prison, the Tihar Jail hosted a fashion show which saw both male and female inmates walking the ramp wearing costumes designed by their fellow jail-mates.

Live streaming facility was also provided for other inmates, who watched the event from their prison cells. The first-time models had trained themselves to perfection for over a month.

The five female models were selected from Jail no. 6 while their male counterparts, 11 in total were from Jail no 2.

Adding to the mood of the evening was a musical performance by members of the jail’s band, Flying Souls. The chief guest of the evening was Delhi High Court judge
Pratibha Rani.

The highlight of the event was the presence of ace designer Rina Dhaka, who had joined hands with Vimlaa Mehra, Director General of Tihar Prisons, to host the event for showcasing fashionable, yet wearable dresses made by the jail inmates
as part of a rehabilitation programme.

Speaking to Metrolife about her ‘jail’ experience, the ace designer, said, “This experience was quite unusual for me. There was something which brought me back to complete this project.

The organic muslin and khadi that they spin on charkhas in Tihar are of fine material and the clothes made out of them can be worn by anyone.

Well, talent is in every area, you just need to chan­elise them. Also, it would be great if these clothes are available in Government shops.”

“I met Vimlaaji at the Bangalore airport during one of our international seminars and there she proposed the idea of doing a fashion show. We’ve been working on the designs since February. This is not a charity show but a noble cause,” added Rina.

According to the DG, Prisons, 75 per cent of the Tihar inmates are undertrials who do not know when they will be released, and so it is important that the time
they spend behind bars be used correctly.

“Our vision is 3Rs’ – reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration and our new motto is ‘Samay ka sadup­iyog’. So, each inmate is given some task or the other thro­ugh which they also earn wages.

We also indulge in environment-friendly activities like making things from jute. Till date the Jute Board of India has done seven to eight workshops with the inmates.”

“All we want is that when they go out of the jail, they are a new human being all
together and most importantly they are accepted by the society,” added Vimlaa Mehra.

Tavinder Singh, one of the models and a murder convict, who has been in jail for the past 10 years, spoke to Metrolife enthusiastically about the fashion event.

“This is the second time I am part of a show like this. Last time I walked the ramp for designer Sanjana Jon. For this, we have been rehearsing for one month and such events are a great way to learn and explore new things. Since childhood I wanted to become a model, but...”

Tavinder who is a resident of Krishna Nagar also shared that he often watches fashion shows on television in his cell.

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