A few months ago, in a mass marriage ceremony held in Garhakota, Madhya Pradesh, minister Gopal Bhargava presented nearly 700 brides with an unusual wedding gift. The gift basket contained a ‘morgi’ or a wooden bat, traditionally used to wash clothes. The bat bears the caption ‘sharabiyon ke sutara hetu bhent, police nahi bolegi’ (gift for beating drunkards, police will not intervene).
The minister felt that it was an apt present as women from this region often come to complain about their alcoholic husbands as whatever little they earn is snatched away by their alcoholic husbands. The minister feels that there is nothing wrong with the wives beating their husbands as it is a step towards ushering in a social change and dealing with the menace of alcoholism.
The minister is also of the view that the government or police alone aren’t enough to solve the problem of alcoholic husbands abusing their wives. History has shown that when the masses intervene, things have changed for the better. The minister has advised the women to first talk to their husbands about the ill effects of drinking and if that doesn’t work, they can let the ‘morgi’ do the talking.
Across various states in India, the sale of illegal liquor has become a major issue. Unless people come forward to deal with it, the situation will not improve. The minister has also requested the new brides to plant saplings, report on any illegal activities in their villages and ensure that their children get proper education.