Breaking the liquor legacy
Tilomajhi and Andharmajhi from Kalahandi, Orissa, were appointed as special police by the government of Orissa, entrusted with the power to break any country liquor pot they come across. Both have been consistently waging a crusade against daru (liquor) for many years.
Says Andharmajhi, "I have been fighting against liquor for the past 16 years. My husband was a drunkard. He sold off our land to a rich person in our village and used that money for drinking." "When we proposed the ban on liquor in the entire village, many opposed us. I and my daughter were beaten by the person who had bought our land as we opposed its sale. The police refused to file our complaint against him. We then took out a rally of 500 women. The police were forced to act and the person was arrested."
The crusade against country liquor has now caught on in about 1,000 villages in Kalahandi, claim women activists involved in the campaign.
Manushi Champatrai, activist, Laxman Naik Society for Rural Development in Orissa, argues, "it is important to struggle against liquor. Twenty to 30 truck-loads of wood are burnt to make country liquor every day in a single block. While the government gives licences to open up country liquor shops everywhere, adivasis are wrongly blamed by the government for cutting the jungle."