The Shop that Sold Sorrow

Inspired by grandparents who were social workers, Farhana Sayyed made a young start in her own life a social worker. She has recently joined the Indianheard team and this is her first video.

Khairidiwan village, Maharashtra has seen a lot of changes in the past few months. Most notably, a growing feeling of insecurity among the women and young girls of the village as a result of a liquor shop that was opened in the village. Located on the main road that leads up to Khairidiwan and connects 5 other villages, the shop has become shelter for the local drunks of the area who are making life miserable for the residents.

“The men get drunk and defecate in the fields. They become abusive,” says one female resident. “Even travelling by bus gets difficult as the drunk men wont let us get on the bus.”

“I chose to make a video on this because I’ve been visiting Khairidiwan for about 5 years now. I know the people and the area well. I remember how it used to be a place where people lived a peaceful life. That is no longer the case. The resident of the village are up in arms and want the shop closed,” explains Farhana.

In many parts of rural India, the consumption of alcohol is a major problem. Those addicted lose themselves in the stupor and also drown away their family’s earnings in the process. The incidents of indecent behaviour obviously do not help. The reasons for people’s opposition to the liquor shop in Khairidiwan however don’t end here. The entire deal reeks of underhandedness.

In 2012, the village head sold a part of his land to the owner of the liquor shop for 12 lakhs in a quiet deal. To open a liquor shop, the entire village has to give its consent in a council meeting. The headman did get this consent, and how. On 15th August 2012 (Independence Day), during the council meeting he got people to sign on a blank piece of paper, which later became the permission to open the shop.

“When the people did eventually find out what was going on, they were angry and felt very betrayed. A committee with members from Khairidiwan and the neighbouring villages was formed soon after the shop opened up,” says Farhana.

“It was this committee that asked me to make the video. While waiting for a bus outside the village one day I got harassed by one of the truck drivers who was standing at the alcohol shop. Supressing my fear, I agreed to make the video soon after.”

“All the people rallied behind me and assured me that if anything would happen they would be beside me. I felt confident and realised that getting results as a community journalist is even better when the whole community is behind you. We have a new headwoman now and I am hopeful that together we will be able to shut down this shop.”

You can help Farhana meet this goal.

Call to Action: Please call the District Collector on 07184254555 and ask him to shut down this liquor shop immediately.

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