The coolest jail in India

Last Updated: Sat, May 21, 2011 07:32 hrs

The 'Man in the Blue Turban' is finally flexing his Gandhi brand Chyawanprash-strengthened muscles. Left, right and centre, the high and the mighty are going to Tihar Jail.

Inside Tihar, Kalmadi and Raja are exchanging 'my scam is bigger than your scam' glances; and the jail now even features old friend Kanimozhi. Tihar would be the place to be if only the ED could track down Lalit Modi now!

You know how at some point in our lives, we have all thought that Hell would be a cooler place than Heaven? With the extremely strict entry criteria disqualifying all the 'fun' people from entering Heaven and all, I can't help but think that Tihar is suddenly the earthling version of Hell.

It is a brand in its own right, and, in fact, makes a range of products under the 'Tihar' brand. It has a Wiki to its name, and it's on Facebook. Can the company you are working for right now boast of such a footprint?

Obviously, I want to be part of the 'Tihar' action in some way. Yeah I know I'm not important enough to be implicated in a big scam soon! And as such, I'm not eligible to go to Tihar legally! But I don't want to be left behind!

So to make up for my inability to hang in Tihar, I did the next best thing. I just sent Tihar Jail a friend request on Facebook. Yes, such is the unusual prisony coolness of this place that you can be friends with South Asia's largest correctional facility 'Central Jail Tihar' on Facebook. Facebook being the spoilsport that we know it to be, I got a stern message that 'Central Jail Tihar will have to confirm your request. Please only send this request if you know him personally.'

Obviously, I don't know Tihar personally. But Tihar and I have one mutual friend in common, so I live in hope.

I wanted to add a personal message but I wasn't sure if it was too soon into the relationship. You know how prisons can be these days? Almost like women. (Or men if you are a woman reading this.)

I know you are thinking I've lost it! How can Tihar be fun! Isn't it a jail?

That's where you are wrong. Tihar is not a jail. According to the Wiki entry on Tihar, 'While Kiran Bedi was the Inspector General of Prisons, and had the Tihar Prisons under her jurisdiction, she instituted a number of prison reforms, including changing the name to Tihar Ashram.' So it's an Ashram and not a prison! 

The entry further tells us that, "Its main objective is to convert its inmates into normal members of the society by providing them with useful skills, education and rules. It is meant to improve the inmates' self-esteem and strengthen their desire to improve.'

Accordingly, one inmate has even passed the IAS examination from there. Bedi, when she was in charge, instituted a Vipassana meditation program for both the staff and its inmates.

You connect all these dots (Wiki, Facebook, Ashram, Vipassana, education, rules, improved self-esteem, IAS) and suddenly Tihar is cast in a whole new boarding-school-for-adults-but-only-cooler kinda light! 

And you are thinking, 'Wait a minute! So the government is sending these guys to an Ashram and not a prison! Is that why I went to the revolution at Jantar Mantar?' I know. It's the Mommy-in-law of all scams.

And for all you know, as we speak, Kalmadi and Raja are jointly working on something bigger, better and more scandalous!

If I were Lalit Modi, I would walk into Tihar right now. It's a much safer bet than super-retard-tweeting anyways. I would exploit the unique opportunity of sitting with Raja and Kalmadi to leverage the combined power of their imaginations. The possibilities are endless.

A new Kalmadi-Raja-Modi triumvirate run tournament that combines IPL, CWG and the 2G spectrum sale in an even more innovative format: A '2-CWG-PL'.

Meanwhile, the bunch of hotshot corporate executives in Tihar could get cracking on developing a '2-CWG-PL' mobile app that lets users execute multi-crore scams through their cell phones and evade smelly chappals when they are hurled at them as they are being produced in court. Can you imagine what the cheerleaders for this tournament will be like?

You all tell me now: Don't you want a slice of the Tihar action? Don't you want to be a Tihari?

I do.

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Raheel Khursheed is an independent journalist based in Kashmir. He consults on communication skills, development and youth leadership. He writes on international, national, local and even trivial matters. You can contact him on Follow Raheel on Twitter: