By: Pavani Chandhok

Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is no friend as loyal as a book . Books aren’t just some scraps of papers joined together but a bunch of meaningful words written in the paper.

Each and every person loves to read books even when they are alone, sad, lonely or happy.  Books act as companions for everyone, be someone living in a free world or behind the bars. Keeping this in mind, Tinka Tinka Foundation has been instrumental in adding libraries to prisons.

Prison Library in District Jail, Panipat

District Jail Panipat has started Tinka Tinka Prison library to cater to the educational needs of around 1000 inmates lodged in this jail.  This library was inaugurated by Shri Amit Sharma, CJM cum Secretary District Legal Services Authority, Panipat, Shri Devi Dayal, Superintendent of the Jail and Dr. Vartika Nanda, Founder of Tinka Tinka Foundation.

Interestingly, the first prison radio of Haryana was also launched in this jail in the month of January and this library is next to the jail room, helping inmates read and prepare their notes for the radio broadcasts. According to Dr. Nanda, “this library is a move to develop reading habits in inmates and fulfil their communication needs. Library will transform their thoughts and will bring change in future.”

Books arranged in almirahs are from different genres, including journalism, fiction, art, spiritualism and biographies. Library also has a collection of magazines in English, Hindi and Punjabi. Inmates are allowed to issue two books at a time for a duration of one week. Two inmates have been chosen to look after the library. One of them is on life imprisonment of 20 years and has already spent four years in jail. He is also a part of the Prison Radio team. Other inmate is under trial. A proper register has been maintained for keeping the exercise smooth.  Five special  paintings  are drawn by a former inmate on the walls of the library.

The reaction

This prison has nearly 980 inmates at the moment out of which 127 are illiterate. This library has been designed specifically for women inmates who will be back to the Panipat jail post Covid-19.  Earlier they were shifted to Karnal jail due to the pandemic. Several inmates have already started sending their requests for permission to visit both the library and the prison radio. They are enthusiastic to enter this space and feel this new addition to the jail.

About Tinka Tinka Foundation

Vartika Nanda is the founder of Tinka Tinka Foundation. She has started the Tinka Tinka movement on prison reforms in India. She had launched Jail Radio in District Jail Agra in 2019. She has trained 47 inmates of Haryana Prisons and have conceived and conceptualized the idea of prison radio in the jails of Haryana. She was conferred Stree Shakti Puraskar by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee in 2013 for her contribution in creating awareness on women’s issues media and literature and has been included twice in the Limca Book of Records for her work on prison reforms and human rights.

She has been engaged in action-oriented prison research using the tools of journalism. Her action-oriented research on prisons was taken cognizance by the Supreme Court of India. Participated in the Supreme Court in India in 2018. in the matter of “Inhuman conditions in 1382 prisons” Three books, Tinka Tinka Tihar, Tinka Dasna and Tinka Madhya Pradesh are considered to be authentic reportage on life in prisons in India, all authored by Vartika Nanda. Currently, she heads the Department of Journalism in Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University.

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Categories: Social