Journey of Success: Ambala Jail Radio: Tinka Tinka Jail Radio in Ambala celebrates two years

  • This is the oldest prison in Haryana
  • This prison has witnessed the execution of Nathu Ram Godse
  • Prison Radio is the brainchild of prison reformer Vartika Nanda

In a momentous occasion on Sunday, Central Jail, Ambala, celebrated two years of the establishment of jail radio in its premises. Central Jail in Ambala, being Haryana’s oldest prison, was amongst the first three prisons chosen by Tinka Tinka Foundation to have its own jail radio station in 2021. Dr. Vartika Nanda, prison reformer and Founder of Tinka Tinka Foundation, has conceptualised and executed prison radios in Haryana. She has done Auditions and selection of inmates and has turned a large number of inmates into radio jockeys.

History of Ambala Jail Radio

Counted amongst India’s significant historical prisons, Central Jail, Ambala, has been witness to many significant events from India’s pre- and post-independence past. Notably, Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse, was also imprisoned and later executed in this prison in 1949.

Vartika Nanda with inmates at Central Jail, Ambala

The jail radio and the progress

Catering to the communication needs of a population of over 1100 inmates, Ambala Jail Radio had trained 10 inmates into talented radio jockeys in 2021, in its initial stage.. Later on, new inmates kept joining the bandwagon. Inmates have received new wings of freedom within their restricted prison compounds through this prison radio.. The prison now reverberates with different radio programmes, ranging from news broadcasts, cultural shows, songs-on-request, among others, following a predetermined daily schedule. It also offers inmates their very own platform to channel their emotional and creative underpinnings through the medium of auditory expression. The jail receives nearly 50 letters every day, many of them addressed to the inmate-turned-RJs working here in the special prison radio station. The jail today holds a very special identity of having a unique jail radio based on the acclaimed TINKA MODEL OF PRISON REFORMS. According to Vartika Nanda,” Two special letter boxes have been placed near the jail radio room. Inmates receive 30 to 40 letters every day. Most of them demand to listen to more patriotic songs. We would like to especially acknowledge the Support of Sanjaav Pattar, Superintendent and Neelam, Deputy Superintendent. Satish,Rishi, Amit,Kishan, Devender, Sheru – all these inmates had created several songs pertaining to the jail radio. Today, on the completion of two years, these songs were again played on the jail radio.”

Success stories of Ambala Jail Radio

Earlier in 2021, the prison facility made it to news for a distinct song penned and voiced by an inmate, RJ Sheru at the peak of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. His song alerting common citizens on the importance of COVID appropriate behaviour and vigilance was also appreciated by the then Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare. This was amongst the first musical compositions released from Tinka Tinka’s long jail radio campaign across Haryana which has established jail radio stations in 9 out of 20 jails in the state so far. The jail is also amongst the first to empower women inmates by offering them a special platform to emerge as radio jockeys, singers, song-writers, musicians and technicians for the in-house jail radio station.

Story of Haryana Jail Radio and the role of Tinka Tinka Foundation

Haryana jail radio was conceived in the year 2020.  Jails of Haryana were divided into 3 different phases. The first phase had three jails- District Jail, Panipat, District Jail, Faridabad and Central Jail, Ambala. Second phase had four jails- District Jails of Karnal, Rohtak, Gurugram and Central Jail (I) Hisar. Third phase has five jails- District Jails of Sonipat, Sirsa, Jind, Jhajjar and Yamunanagar.

First jail radio of Haryana was inaugurated in District Jail, Panipat by Shri Ranjit Singh (Jail Minister), Shri Rajiv Arora IAS, Additional Chief Secretary (Home and Jail) and Shri K. Selvaraj, (IPS), DG Prisons, Haryana in January 2021.

Background of Tinka Tinka Foundation

Dr. Vartika Nanda heads the Department of Journalism at Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. She has initiated a movement on prison reforms in India under the banner, Tinka Tinka. President of India conferred the Stree Shakti Puraskar on her in 2014. Her work on prisons was taken cognizance by the Supreme Court of India in 2018. Her name has also been included in the Limca Book of Records twice for her unique work on prison reforms. She launched Tinka Tinka Prison Radio in 2020, the only podcast series in India that brings out voices from jails. These exclusive podcasts have completed nearly 60 episodes.


  1. Tinka Jail Radio: Episode 58: Ambala jail radio and the voices behind bars:

  2. Tinka Jail Radio: Episode 36: Ambala jail radio and the women inmates:

  3. Tinka Jail Radio: Episode 16: RJ singer Sheru on COVID-19:

Wikipedia: Vartika Nanda – Wikipedia

(This article is part of Tinka Tinka Prison Research Cell established in 2021)

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