For long, we have known Delhi’s Tihar Jail, South Asia’s biggest complex of prisons, as a correctional institution. The jail has taken pride in not only reforming the inmates, but also rehabilitating them. In one such beautiful example we have Tinka Tinka Tihar — a collection of poems by four of the female prisoners at the Jail. The verses take us through the thoughtful and the gifted side of the incarcerated women.
Inmates wait for their turn for an interview at Tihar jail in a job placement drive organised at Jail No. 03 in the jail premises in New Delhi. (HT Photo/Vipin Kumar)
Talking to us, one of the four internees, Aarti Sachdeva, under trial for two years for murdering her husband, says: “I have been writing for many years. Poems are easy for me ... they come naturally. I do not have to scratch my brain too much for it”. It must be noted that writing runs deep in Aarti’s veins, who has penned 8000 pages of her diaries, detailing her personal battles. “These verses are very personal. There is no specific time for such sensitivity. It can strike you anytime of the day,” says Seema Raghuvanshi, who along with her spouse has been on a murder trial for four years.
The book also features some poignant pictures taken by women prisoners, that capture the life and times in the lockup. The book is compiled by Vimlaa Mehra, Director General Prisons and Dr Vartika Nanda, lecturer and journalist. “This is just the beginning. We want to publish many more such works of people who are as talented as anyone,” says Vimlaa with a proud glint in her eyes.
“These women who have penned their thoughts are not committed writers, rather emotional storytellers,” Vartika signs off, putting everything into perspective.
About the book
Title: Tinka Tinka Tihar
Authors: Vimlaa Mehra and Dr Vartika Nanda
Publisher: Rajkamal Prakashan
Price: Rs. 499