Beyond bars: Band, baja, baraat for prison reform in Patiala

  • Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times, Patiala
  • Updated: Nov 10, 2014 13:08 IST

A band of convicts in the jail here is being trained to play music at weddings, in an attempt to reform and rehabilitate its members.

They may by serving life terms for crimes as serious as murder, but these men will put life into your parties with popular tunes from Bollywood. They will perform at private as well as government functions, for whoever hires them by approaching the jail superintendent. “These prisoners have good conduct. The brass and pipe band skills will help them earn money during their prison term.

We will allow them to perform outside the jail, in marriages and even religious processions,” said additional director general of police (prisons) Rajpal Meena.

He came out with the idea after chief minister Parkash Singh Badal sought new job skills for the inmates. “We hope the first batch will start performing by mid-January. The band master who told us about the shortage of trained hands in this field in Punjab said he would hire the group, so it’s a good beginning,” said Meena, in Patiala to know the progress.

The band’s earnings will go to the families of its members. The jail department will also train some talented inmates as singers and musical-instrument players. Some are from well-off families.

The chief minister has allowed the department to open a music teaching room at the Patiala prison.

For woman inmates, it has dress-designing and make-up courses. Brides could use their services.

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