Standing up to Fight Alcoholism

subhadra khaperde
Posted July 3, 2011 from India

We were sitting there, a few hundred women, gathered to discuss the reasons for our poor reproductive health. It had been revealed in a medical survey that our average haemoglobin count was 7 milligrams per decilitre instead of the 12 milligrams per decilitre that it should have been. We were talking of various medical solutions when one woman stood up and said that as long as the men continued to drink and beat us up and make us work like chattels there was no way in which we could improve our health and our status in society. Immediately there was a roar of approval from the women. They unanimously said that the illegal liquor shops must be closed down. No sooner was this decided than we all got up from the meeting and went to a bootlegger shop nearby and told him to close it down. When he refused to do so we searched his shop, siezed his cache of liquor and took it to the nearest police station and deposited it there. Thus began a massive movement of Bhil tribal women against alcoholism and bootlegging under my leadership. The climax of this movement was when we siezed the illegal warehouse in one of the villages where the biggest bootlegger of the area used to stock his liquor. Anticipating our action he had come down with his armed goons to prevent us but when he saw the strength and determination of the women he backed out and the warehouse was sealed by us. This was the first time in the history of Bhil tribal women when they had stood up against the patriarchal pressures of their own society and also risen to force the state authorities to take action against the powerful bootleggers. However, the state authorities did not like this rebellion by the women and so they slapped false criminal cases on a few of the women and myself. We then went on hunger strike in prison against this injustice and succeeded in freeing ourselves unconditionally. This was an important victory because it proved to the Bhil women and I that we could stand up against injustice and oppression and improve our status in the face of a patriarchal dispensation.

My Story: Standing Up

Comments 8

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Jade Frank
Jul 03, 2011
Jul 03, 2011

Dearest Subhadra,

I LOVED reading this story. By the end of the story, I wanted to jump up from my chair and scream, "YES!!!" because I felt so moved by the determination and courage of you, and other Bhil women to take action against alcoholism. Thank you for sharing this powerful story sister!

Love, Jade

subhadra khaperde
Jul 04, 2011
Jul 04, 2011

Dear Jade, thank you for the encouragement. the battle against patriarchy and its manifestation in alcoholism of the men is a long and tough one.

Carrie Lee
Jul 06, 2011
Jul 06, 2011

What a powerful story Subhadra! You have shown how reproductive health issues exist within the the context of the whole...you and the women are uncovering what isn't being said, and are not only unplugging patriarchy, but also building something new! WOW! Your courage and determination is inspiring!

Love, Carrie

subhadra khaperde
Jul 08, 2011
Jul 08, 2011

Dear Carrie, thanks for your appreciation. We women have to carry on our fight for a new world.

Kagwii
Jul 11, 2011
Jul 11, 2011

Wow, it is true what they say, a journey of 1000 miles starts with one step and also that we can be the change we want to see. I feel strongly 'it starts with me' and I applaud you Bhil women for doing something to change your society

subhadra khaperde
Jul 12, 2011
Jul 12, 2011

Hi Kagwii, thanks for the appreciation. Its a long hard battle. There are many ups and downs. These are only small victories in a sea of defeats.

Sally
Jul 12, 2011
Jul 12, 2011

That is absolutly an amazing story! As a recovering alcoholic I completely understand fighting alcoholism. It is a very complex disease, especially when the resources are not there. It is even difficult when the resources are there. I think you are very courageous and have a lot of fight in you! You have an amazing story and I am so greatful to be able to hear about it. Keep standing up and I wish you the very best.

Thank you so very much for sharing your story.

Sally Smith

subhadra khaperde
Jul 13, 2011
Jul 13, 2011

Dear Sally, you are brave too because you have won your personal fight against alcohol. Congratulations. regards Subhadra