Dilawar Singh (name changed) does not have a formal degree in fashion technology but the garments he helped produce still wowed buyers at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) in Pragati Maidan on Friday.
Costing just Rs 200, the Tihar Jail’s (TJ’s) brand cotton shirts in light colours (white, pale white, sky blue, cream and yellow) sold briskly at the prison's stall at the fair on its concluding day.
Produced by a team of around 230-odd inmates including Singh, who is a murder convict at Tihar, the shirts were “the most sought after” among all of Tihar jail's products at the fair.
Confirmed Tihar Jail’s spokesperson Sunil Gupta, “We sold goods worth around Rs 3.5 lakh between November 14 and 27 at the trade fair. This is better than previous the year.”
A month ago, during an inspection tour at the jail, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had given his thumbs-up to these shirts as well.
He had said he liked the shirts the most especially because of their “low price but high quality”.
Similarly at the IITF, the “low price but high quality” did impress many.
Pratyush Debey, a 30-year-old lawyer who bought three of the white TJ’s shirts at the IITF, told HT, “These shirts are dirt cheap but of reasonably good quality.”
Another buyer, 20-year-old BA student Amit Chaubey found the shirts to be “as good as any in this kind of low price range”. He bought “two sky blue shirts”.
Inmates of Jail number 2 at Tihar produce these shirts in the ‘Weaving Section’ and ‘Tailoring Section’. The jail authorities source raw cotton from outside and it is then turned into shirts using in-house resources and talents.
Along with the shirts, durries (mattresses) priced at Rs 400 were also a hit at the trade fair. The ‘swinging chairs’ that cost Rs 3,000 each were also selling.
The inmates get between Rs 42 and Rs 65 per day for their day’s labour at the factories, Gupta said.