Gopal Bhargava, the panchayat and rural development minister of Madhya Pradesh has gifted washing bats to 700 new brides to ‘take care’ of their husbands if they come home drunk. These mass weddings were organised on Akshay Tritiya on Saturday.
“If your husband or any other member of the family comes home drunk, treat him with it,” he said in his hometown, Garhakota on Saturday. He also added that he got this idea when a woman asked him if she should beat her husband with a wooden plank to get him to stop drinking.
The washing bat also has a special message for the brides- one asking them to correct their husbands if they come home drunk and that the police will not intervene. This act also has a political message- Bhargava’s son Abhishek has been active in an anti-liquor campaign in Bundelkhand.
There have been campaigns by the Gulabi gang, a group of female vigilantes in pink sarees carrying wooden sticks to shut down illegal alcohol sale. The widespread prohibition of alcohol in various states can possibly lead to the rise of poisonous home-made alcohol and moonshine operations.
Probably the minister has not thought of the consequences of this act. Presenting brides with bats which are instruments to cause injury to their husbands is a way of promoting violence. The intention of the minister might be to curb domestic violence caused by drunkenness, but the remedy provided by him is of domestic violence as well. Here the source of the problem that is husbands creating mental and physical hurt to their wives because of being intoxicated will not be solved. If the bats are actually used, the extent of hurt caused cannot be checked on or be controlled. It can also prove to be fatal. It cannot be checked that by whom and on whom the bats will be used. This move is merely providing an aid for violence.
It is important to target the real problem here. Working on domestic violence at its source, spreading awareness, providing help to women, which are not violent in nature is the correct way. The bat provided comes with the message that the police will not intervene which is exactly that should happen. Women in these situations need the help of legal authorities and the husbands should be aware that official aid will come to rescue in case of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence is a torturous act that must be remedied but with steps that themselves do not use violence. Let’s not forget that ‘An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind’.