The first step in addressing the issue of increased alcoholism in rural regions, is to acknowledge the problem and proceed with the de-addiction process.
Alcohol is certainly an invention of the devil for those who consume it. It robs people of not only their money but also their life and their choices. Once, when Mayank Gandhi was travelling to deliver a lecture at Rewali village of Marathwada, Sangeeta (name changed), a young girl, narrated her tragic daily routine of being beaten up by her alcoholic father. Her eyes filled with tears as she asked the gathered villagers, “Are we not humans?” Everyone was shaken by the question asked so innocently. Being the keen crusader of prohibition of alcohol, Mayank Gandhi was disturbed.
In many of the households, children were traumatized and beaten if they came in the way of the drunken menfolk. Similar shocking stories of violence were common in these villages. Alcohol dependence among depressed menfolk was not only a cause of social unrest but also acted as an impediment to involvement in farming and other agricultural activities. Any advise given to some of these individuals, would further lead to violence. The only sustainable solution was to initiate a “DAARU BANDI” campaign in all the villages.
Thousands of women and children held mashaals and walked around the villages, requesting alcohol sellers to shut their businesses. Women sat outside liquor stores singing bhajans. Soon, the sale of illicit liquor stopped.
A few months later, we also noticed that with alcohol gone as an impediment, farmers were more open to learning new methods of agriculture, attend more training sessions, and proactive in taking decisions that had the potential to change their lives. Conversely, in some cases, being presented with these new avenues for earning additional income also proved to be a stimulus in encouraging them to give up their drinking and gambling habits.
Written by : Global Parli Research Team