Ram Kumar will not be at home to celebrate Holi on Thursday but he, along with his team members, has produced enough dry herbal colours for his family to use.
Kumar, who is a life-convict lodged in Tihar Jail, is also enthused about the fact that the colours produced by his team has bagged export orders from the United States and United Kingdom.
The colours — in seven eye-catching hues — have been produced by a team of around 50 Tihar convicts, including Kumar, as part of the prison’s joint project with a non-governmental organisation, Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (DJSS).
Kumar's team has produced around 14,000 kilogram of colours, which is almost more than double the amount another prison team had made last year.
Produced in Tihar's sub jail five, the hand-made colours (gulaal) are made of maize starch, edible-grade hues, herbal essence and natural fragrances.
"No metal was used in the product and its makers, the inmates, used facemasks, hand gloves, head and foot drapes to ensure hygiene," said Sunil Gupta, Tihar's spokesperson.
The Holi product is available in seven colours including red, magenta, pink, orange, green, sky blue and yellow. The colours come in packets of 120 gram, priced at R65 each.
"We have got orders to export the colours to business groups located in the US and UK," said DJSS's Swami Vishalanand.
Inmates, who begin with a meditation session before undertaking the making and packaging of the colours, were trained for a few weeks in November last year by a DJSS team.
"The project has helped a group of Tihar's convicts contribute towards Holi's celebrations outside the prison-walls. They were especially-trained to make herbal colours and have earned daily wages as per the rules," said Neeraj Kumar, Tihar's Director General (prisons).
The colours have been dispatched for sale across 21 outlets in the city — including seven that offer products made under Tihar's TJ's brand — and around 359 outlets belonging to the NGO across the country.
(Name of the convict has been changed to protect his privacy)