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This Holi, eat your colours

entertainment Updated: Feb 20, 2010 02:36 IST

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Edible colours handmade by women inmates of the Tihar Jail are set to be sold in Delhi.

A group of 20 woman inmates at Tihar’s Jail no 6 are using herbal raw materials like flowers to make gulal — dry colours — which will be sold at specified centres in the Capital.

“We have used arrowroot powder and flower petals along with food grade colour and natural fragrances to make colours that are purely skin-friendly and even
eatable,” says Vishalanand, spokesperson Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (DJJS), an NGO that has been working with inmates.

To make a quick buck, some manufacturers are seen to adulterate the colours with diesel, chromium iodine, engine oil, copper sulphate, and glass powder (to add sheen), which is known to cause nausea, headache, breathlessness among other ailments, say medical experts.

“Making of colours in the women’s ward of the prison is an attempt to provide inmates some source of income. The project is not a permanent one and will end a few days before Holi,” says Sunil Gupta, Public Relations Officer, Tihar Jail.

Inmates who are given training to make the colours are commissioned to produce 10,000 packets of 100 grams each of purely herbal dry colour, which will be put up for sale. “The proceeds from the sale of the products would go into the Prisoners’ Welfare Fund,” adds Gupta. Vishalanand says, “Packaging of the colours will be done at par with the international standards and they will be put on sale at a mall in Rajouri Garden and Delhi Haat. The colours would be available at counters outside the Jail also.”

Inmates, all women, mostly in their late 30s or early 40s, say they are enthusiastic about the whole exercise. “We want to tell the world that adulteration of Holi colours can prove injurious to health,” says an inmate, who is referred to as ‘Baby’ by fellow inmates.