Hooch Free Village

This movement began with the village Rewali on 30th June 2016. Rewali village had huge alcoholism problem with some women and few children as young as 10 years, starting to drink. The poverty makes them choose to drink to forget their pains. The village was on the edge. Many youth had died with liver cirrhosis and many were in terminal stage.

While addressing a meeting in the temple in Rewali village (temples are the main meeting place in all villages), Mr.Mayank Gandhi admonished the village elders for allowing a drunk villager in the temple premise and asked the village seniors to banish this social menace of drunkenness. Soon, the villagers and the sarpanch took it upon themselves to stop the sale of hooch (a kind of illicit alcohol) and asked the liquor shop owners to close their shops. The shop owners were made to realise that alcohol is a communal evil because of which they conceded to the demands. Because they had given up on their means of livelihood, Global Parli decided to provide them with goats. These goats will provide them the means to earn a living in a more decent way.

Due to the efforts of the sarpanch and the villagers, the sacrifice of the liquor sellers and the guidance by Global Parli, no liquor is available in Rewali. Many villagers who used to drink in Rewali were cursing the sarpanch. Some of them went to Shirsala, the nearby town by auto to get their dose. The sarpanch requested the autorickshaw drivers to charge Rs.20 from these drunkards instead of Rs.10 and they cooperated. Now many walk 5 kms to Shirsala, but it's gotten tougher to drink.....

After Rewali, the villagers of Kaudgaon Huda decided to close down the illegal liquor shops in their village. Out of 3 shops, two closed down voluntarily. When Bhairavi, our volunteer was travelling in this village, many women came running and stopped her, begging her not to stop this drive against "daru". The women, especially, have been passing through hell because of this drinking problem. So many young deaths and misery can be sourced to drinking. After Rewali and Kaudgaon Huda, it was time for the others. We held meetings in the remaining villages, where women were crying because drinking had devastated their lives and showed us scars where their husbands had hit them after being drunk. We were told about many youngsters that had died; one youth drove himself to death in drunken stupor and another took poison after drinking. Families were suffering and entire villages were disturbed.

During the meetings, we exhorted them to take responsibility for stopping the alcohol shops. The villagers led by women and youth marched up to the liquor shops amidst slogan shouting like ‘Bharath mata ki jai’ and demanded the hooch vendors to stop their sale. During one such meeting at night(most meetings were at night), held in complete darkness due to power shedding, we heard some noise from a distance. Suddenly, around 50 children appeared walking up to us in a morcha shouting, "दारू बंदी ज़ालिच पाहिजे" (liquor sale must stop). We all had goose bumps and realised the power that even little children had to effect change.

It was no longer just our movement. It become the movement of the villagers. It was a movement for a better life. That's how movements and transformation start. Drinking addiction by the poor villagers is like a hole in the bucket. Even if some prosperity comes, it will get drained in drinking. Stopping sale of illicit liquor is therefore critical to rural transformation. The fight against alcoholism was long and arduous, but we succeeded in removing liquor from all our villages. We also urged two liquor shops on the Parli-Beed highway and they agreed to close down.