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Sarpanch Geeta Devi makes her village in Rajasthan alcohol free
The name is Kachchbali, but it was a village of drunkards with weak personalities. This village in Rajasthan knew no laughter.

There was strife galore because most of the men folk drank alcohol from sunrise to sunset. They squandered their hard earned money just to remain intoxicated all the time. Sleeping hours and waking hours made no difference to consumption of hard drinks mixed with local intoxicants.

The drunkards could hardly walk but they kept on drinking until they fell flat on the ground anywhere. An obnoxious sight indeed!

Women folk of the village were the worst sufferers in that scenario. Women would often get beaten up, abused and at times had to go without food because earnings went to the local wine shop. The wine sellers were getting richer day by day and the village men poorer. In a drunken state, they used to demand sex but failed to perform. It was nothing but torture for women of the village.

Children in almost all the families just remained silent spectators to the tragedy enacted every day. Their education suffered because their parents had no money to buy good educational grounding. Some were compelled to become school dropouts as their parents defaulted in paying even the basic fee. The scene was gloomy. No help was forthcoming from any outside agency. NGOs looked the other way, what to say of the local administration.

Women folk were religious minded. They said their daily prayers and begged God for deliverance from the clutches of demon called alcohol. The active ones among them acted on their own. Their prayers were answered. They suddenly had internal strength of their souls. They heard their inner voice that asked them to slay the demon that had been continuously destroying their lives generation after generation.

Geeta Devi emerged as a leader of the distraught and the forlorn. She made a road map and walked on it to give deliverance to her sisters of the village. The initial step of hers was to wield power and control the purse. She, with the active support of her 'sahelis of the village', campaigned for the post of Sarpanch and succeeded in getting elected. There was no opposition worth the name to stop her juggernaut. 

Once she occupied the post of Sarpanch, she organized another referendum of the same electorate to empower women folk of the village to lead them to a new village sans wine shops in the vicinity. Lo and behold! A changed scenario was emerging.

In the village chaupal, classes for men were organised to detoxify them, drill into them the advantages of a wine free village and not forgetting a bright future for their children, both boys and girls.

Initially, there was a stiff opposition from those who were addicted to drinks. They did not want to give up their existing state of being on cloud 9.

However, Gita Devi was also made of sterner stuff. Never say die was her motto and she shaped her schedule accordingly.

She won the final battle when the story of women folk making the village free from intoxicants hit the headlines in the local Hindi media. Support started pouring in from unexpected and unknown quarters. It boosted the morale of Geeta Devi and her companions of the fairer sex. They came up with road maps to proceed further and started working on it with renewed energy that comes from determination. Worshippers of Yogeshwar Shri Krishna knew his teachings by heart, "YUDHAYA KRIT NISHCHAYAH" – fight on with determination – and nothing could now subdue their indomitable spirit. They had tasted blood and knew that success was around the corner.

The bell rang in the right quarters that matter politically and administratively. Since the state policy favoured closure of wine shops in areas where the people demanded it, the citadel of opposition crumbled like a house of cards. The contractors of wine shops of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and the desi tharra received their marching orders.

Gita Devi and her staunch supporters – Sahelis – had won the battle amidst strong opposition of those who loved their evening peg of alcohol and stiff anti-canvassing of their cohorts. In the village named Kachchbali in Rajasthan and its vicinity where women could not come out in the open after dusk for fear of being molested, it was a heaven once in for all!

Thanks to Gita Devi, the Sarpanch and her staunch supporters, the sahelis, now peace prevails. Freedom of movement is indeed absolute. Children attend schools regularly and study well. Women are no more beaten up by drunken husbands. Above all, there is always a handful of silver in the family coffers to be spent on welfare of the entire family.

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