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Dec 17, 2012 at 09:14am IST

Kolkata: Correctional home reforms the lives of inmates through music

Kolkata: Kolkata's Dum Dum correctional home is following a unique way of reforming the lives of its inmates. It helps them polish their musical skills. Inmates have also come out with their own album. From an inmate to an artist, music has given them a new identity.

46-year-old Sujit Doloi has spent 12 years behind bars, battling depression and loneliness. Now he has found solace in music. "I am very proud, that I got this opportunity, that I can learn how to sing here. I feel very grateful," Sujit says.

The inmates were brought together from across Bengal handpicked for their musical skills. Hours of training and two and half years later, Muktoberi was formed. They have also cut an album and have even performed outside.

Music trainer Dr Tapan Ray says, "They didn't know how to sing, never learnt music. The fact that they can now sing and also have an album now is fantastic."

For Swapan Barui, music has given him peace and a will to be a better person. For the others it's a way to shut out the life outside. "I have always wanted to study. Music has taught me not to give up. I took my class ten boards this year from the jail and scored good marks also," Swapan says.

Another inmate Manik Kumar says, "I miss my family and my home, but through music I can forget everything." Standing by them is their jail superintendent, amazed at the difference that music has brought about. Debashish Mukherjee, superintendent of the Dum Dum correctional home, says, "They are courageous, they are mingling with others. Earlier they wouldn't mingle but now they do. So they are enjoying."

Reforming through re-invention, music has setthese distressed minds free and taught them to live.