Women Stop Liquor Menace

Women in Chhattisgarh, India successfully get the local liquor brewery shut down after a four day protest.

Bhan Sahu is an active and passionate member of a women’s committee in Chhattisgarh and has been a part of many campaigns to protect and promote the rights of women. Through this video, she wants to share a success story about how the women of Mohla united and sat outside a liquor shop for four days in protest, until it was shut down.

In India, the government issues distilling licenses to brew liquor at public auctions. Each state invites tenders, has a selection process and then sells licenses to vendors for a price. As a result there are several thousand local liquor brewing set-ups in little villages all over the country, and these are usually associated with social problems of alcoholism, bankruptcy and domestic violence.

“It is the children who suffer the most,” Bhan Sahu said. “They aren’t able to go to school. Their fathers waste money buying alcohol. They take the gold, bangles, they take their wives’ jewelry and sell it. The wives are beaten up. Alcohol is the biggest problem in our community.” Led by Pramila Sharma, thousands of women got together in March 2009 to protest, which resulted in the brewery being moved elsewhere.

The Director of Video Volunteers, Stalin K, has made a film called “When Women Unite: The Story of an Uprising” in Andhra Pradesh, where women re-enacted how they had thrown chili pepper into the eyes of the liquor sellers. Besides getting the problem addressed, these anti-liquor agitations have created lots of really powerful women as articulate and strong as Pramila Sharma and the others profiled in this video.

Bhan Sahu has personally participated in similar protests which led to the shutting down of other such village breweries, and says these stories are an inspiration for rural women everywhere who suffer from the same problem. She wants to tell all her viewers that if they want to do something about this, they should write to the Excise Department in Raipur at the following address, because only they have the power to reduce the number of licenses issued.

OFFICE OF THE EXCISE COMMISSIONER, CHHATTISGARH

SHIV BHAWAN, BAIRAN BAZAR, RAIPUR

CHHATTISGARH

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