14 Inmates From Dehradun Jail Compose Jail Radio’s Signature Tune
By Samridhi Chugh
Fourteen inmates from Dehradun have come together to compose and release the signature tune of Sudhowala Jail, a place they’ve come to recognise as home. This has been done on the occasion of Uttarakhand Day, on November 9, 2021. All fourteen inmates, including Tulika, Rakesh, Arun and, amongst them a former artist and singer from Akashwani, Sujit Narang, have been selected and trained by prison reformer Dr. Vartika Nanda. Known for bringing prison radios in Agra and the state of Haryana, she has initiated and conceptualised Tinka Jail Radio in Uttarakhand as well. Tinka Tinka Foundation, as a part of its acclaimed Tinka Model of Prison Reforms, believes in the power of art and creativity to bring forth the revolution of hope in the lives of India’s inmates.
The signature tune of the Dehradun jail echoes with the collective melody of the inmates capturing the essence of the newly established jail radio operating with the most ordinary apparatus provided by the jail authorities, in the words, “…karwa deta ye sabse sabka mel hai… ye Radio Doon Jail hai x2…” (“…it enables the meeting of one with everyone else… this is Radio Doon Jail x2…”). Notably, the prison radio in the Dehradun jail is an extension of the pan-India prison radio experiment undertaken by Tinka Tinka Foundation, established here in the month of August 2021.
As highlighted in the podcast, the unique selling point of this tune is its pre-production story, one that reeks of the camaraderie, love and respect the inmates hold for each other. Encouraged by the anchorage of Director General of Jails Shri Pushpak Jyoti, Jailer Shri Pawan Kothari and Senior Superintendent Shri Dadhi Ram, inmates in the making of the song have exhibited a beautiful student-teacher bond that has tethered the fourteen of them to the jail, the latest prison radio initiative as well as with each other, their musical notes and synchronised voices all tying them together in a thread of understanding and unconditional support.
The signature tune from the Doon Jail Radio is a study in its own spiritual distinction. As the inmates from the barracks of Dehradun rejoice the release of their latest melodious craft, it is clear that the signature tune has captured the spirit of life and brings forth new rays of strength, hope and the faith to go on, persevering for better times, just like the spirit of Uttarakhand which has been fueling the nation with faith and devotion since time immemorial.
With selected inmates of 12 jails in Haryana already trained as Radio Jockeys, the jail radio has made a huge difference to jail life. Five songs from different jails have been released by Tinka Tinka on YouTube, Spotify and Google Podcasts. Tinka Tinka Prison Reforms YouTube channel has also been created for this purpose, which has the distinction of being the only podcast in India solely dedicated to prison reforms.
These podcasts have exhibited the talents of two of the inmates-turned-RJs, Sheru and Jitender, both of whom spent time composing two melodies on the woes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both of these compositions were appreciated by former Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, on his Twitter account, and were lauded for being effective public service announcements symbolic of India’s continuous battle against the pandemic. Another inmate-turned RJ Kashish released a beautiful symphony in appreciation of Tinka’s prison radio efforts in the District Jail Panipat, with a special theme song. Tinka Tinka’s consistent efforts in fostering musical creativity in inmates have also enabled the successful production and release of jail theme songs from the prisons in Tihar and Dasna.
Dr. Vartika Nanda, founder of the ‘Tinka Tinka’ movement for prison reforms, is credited for resuscitating at least 7 out of 19 jails in Haryana with a new cultural life by establishing jail radio stations and offering inmates the vocal medium to share their emotions, thoughts and musical expressions with the outside world they seem to have left behind, long ago. In 2019, Dr. Nanda established radio in District Jail, Agra, located in the oldest jail building in the country. As a part of these initiatives, at least 47 talented and well-deserving inmates have received special training under Dr. Vartika Nanda’s ‘Tinka Tinka Prison Radio’ movement in Haryana since December 2020, following the successful establishment of the radio initiative in District Jail, Agra.
Dr. Nanda has been honored with the Stree Shakti Award from the President of India in 2014 for her efforts in prison reforms. Her work on prisons has twice found a place in the Limca Book of Records. Currently, she heads the Department of Journalism in Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi.
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