In Dhanbad jail, a dash of colour - 15 undertrials prepare for Independence Day art exhibition

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  • Published 13.06.12

Undertrials of Dhanbad divisional jail are learning to add colour to their otherwise drab life.

The inmates, 15 of them selected on the basis of their interests, are picking up the ABC of painting. Their six-month training stint, which started last week, will culminate in a painting competition among the trainees this Independence Day on August 15. An exhibition will also be organised on the occasion where the creations of the undertrials will be displayed.

“The proposal for organising the training came from the inmates themselves. We appointed a murder accused, Rajesh Sao, as the trainer as he had showed a lot of interest in a similar programme organised at the jail four months ago. Classes are held daily, except Sundays, from noon to 1.30pm,” said superintendent of the jail Hamid Akhtar.

Besides helping the prisoners join the mainstream, he said such training programmes gave them an identity and made them employable. “Money for procuring chart papers, pencils, rubbers, brushes and canvases has been provided from the prisoner welfare fund. Though only 15 men — there are 1,058 inmates, including 62 women, in all — are being trained, the programme may be extended to others, including women, later,” said Akhtar.

Sao, who is conducting the classes, said the training was helping the young inmates channel their imagination. “In the initial phase, I am teaching them how to draw faces. Gradually, they will learn how to paint the other body parts to make a complete figure,” said Sao, who has studied till Class VIII.

A similar programme was conducted four months ago during which another inmate, Jagannath, had guided participants. This apart, a formal training session was held at the jail in July-August, 2009, with the help of a Calcutta based-NGO, Flight to Harmony Foundation, on the instructions of then IG (prisons) Sunil Kumar Burnwal, who is now deputy commissioner of Dhanbad.

“Occasionally, we also impart training in making agarbatti, visiting cards, pamphlets and rakhis. We are planning to come up with a sale counter near the main gate of the jail at the cost of Rs 5.5 lakh for selling the products made by the inmates. The money generated will be deposited in the prisoners’ welfare fund,” the jail superintendent said.