In Uttarakhand, police to reward brides who say no to booze at their weddings
The initiative, Bhuli (sister in Garhwali language) Kanyadan, is the brainchild of Devprayag station house officer.
The Devprayag police in Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand has taken a noble initiative to discourage cocktail parties in the weddings in rural areas under its jurisdiction by rewarding brides who object to such parties at their wedding events.
Under the initiative named Bhuli (sister in Garhwali language) Kanyadan, the brainchild of Devprayag station house officer Mahipal Singh Rawat, the police station will offer a reward of ₹10,001 to the bride for objecting to booze parties at her wedding functions. The reward money would be pooled in by the staff of the police station.
Explaining the reason behind the initiative, Rawat said, "Of late it has been observed that people in the rural areas in the hills, just like people in the urban areas, are also organising cocktail parties which has now become a trend. It often causes arguments, quarrels and fights at weddings. To stop such things, I decided to take the step."
Rawat said that the move will spread awareness against promoting alcohol during weddings which "was not always a trend in the weddings in hilly areas."
"In weddings in hilly areas, it was more about celebrating culture and rituals with love and affection. But now that has been replaced with these cocktail parties which is not a good sign. We hope this initiative will curb the trend and people will focus more on celebrating the rituals and culture," he said.
The police officer informed that the cocktail parties have many implications on society, including unnecessary pressure on the economically weaker families to hold such events.
"It becomes a sort of societal pressure on poor families. They feel like others in the village, they should also hold such parties for their daughters' wedding. We hope the move will curb this. Rewarding the brides would set an example and make others feel that should not hold such parties to get the reward," said Rawat.
To inform the village heads in the area, Rawat held a meeting with them a few days ago who too "appreciated the idea and promised their support to make it a success."
"I held a meeting with about 20-25 village heads at police station premises wherein they all supported the idea and said they will urge the residents of their villages not to hold cocktail parties in weddings. This will also save many families which are being destroyed due to the menace of alcoholism," said Rawat.
He added that the village heads have been asked to also verify the claims by the brides under the initiative to ensure they genuinely objected to booze and are not lying to get the reward money.
Social activists have also appreciated the move saying it will help in curbing the practice in hills.
Social activist Anoop Nautiyal said, "If a bride objects to cocktail parties in her wedding, then it will be a symbolic act with high impact on the society which could further motivate others to do the same."
On the question of any possible discord by the bride's act he said, "it is unlikely to happen as such acts by women in Uttarakhand have led to significant changes and movements in the society in the past."
"Also, it also important to stop the cocktail parties in weddings considering the present economic hardships," said Nautiyal.