Liquor ban heroine’s work is not yet done
Four years ago, men drinking in groups after sundown were a daily affair in Kothal Kurd village in Haryana. With this came stories of drunken men torturing their wives.delhi Updated: Jul 11, 2009 23:35 IST
Four years ago, men drinking in groups after sundown were a daily affair in Kothal Kurd village in Haryana. With this came stories of drunken men torturing their wives.
Today, there is a ban on drinking in public places and the
village folk are a happier lot.
The transformation was brought about by sarpanch (village head) Roshani Devi, who was felicitated by President Pratibha Patil on Saturday.
Roshani’s story was first published in HT on June 4.
In Rashtrapati Bhawan, the graduate Dalit sarpanch said woman’s empowerment was one of her primary objectives.
“I want to fight female foeticide, inadequate education for girls and dowry,” she said.
In 2005, Roshani, with the help of two other women, Usha Devi and Tripati — who, too, were felicitated on Saturday — banned drinking in public places. The idea was to stop the men from beating their wives and to provide money for the education of their children.
The twin objective couldn’t have been achieved without putting a check on drinking.
So, when Roshani and other women from the village enforced the ban, it was natural that resistance from the men followed. But they gave in later, when they were publicly reprimanded.
“We imposed fines on gatherings. It worked,” Roshani said.
HT had visited Kothal Khurd, in Mahendergarh district, 148 km west of Delhi, and witnessed how literate and semi-literate women were challenging men, who till a few days ago would abuse them. Many men admitted to having quit alcohol after Roshani’s movement.
Describing the three women as role models, the President said they have proved that if there is courage and dedication, nothing is difficult.
“Enhone Gandhji ka sapna pura kiya hai (they have fulfilled Mahatma Gandhi’s dream),” Patil said. And added that social rejuvenation could bring bigger changes than government spending.
“We need commitment and dedication of individuals and NGOs for that,” Patil said.
Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik — who complimented HT on the report — said that a film on Roshani was on the cards too.