It has always been a difficult task to organise women of the society but the Self Help Group (SHG) scheme taken up by Seva Bharati, Tamilnadu, in Kanyakumari district has made this dream come true.
In a remote Vanvasi village called Kodithuraimalai, SHG women resolved to execute a noble idea. After every weekly meet all the members gathered to work in the farm of one member of the SHG without any payment. The owner of the land offered them lunch and evening tea. The next week the same activity happened in the farm of another member. This rotation of work is carried out in the farm of all the members in a regular turn. The resultant yield of self-reliance is promising both materialistically and socially.
Alcoholism is a menace in our society and it is very difficult to do away with it. The SHG women achieved a few victories in this field too. In a village called Thenkarai a liquor shop was situated near the only pathway leading to the village. The villagers took up the matter with the authorities concerned, several times directly and through various associations, but the shop was not shifted from the place. The SHG women of that village informed about the difficulties caused by the liquor shop to Sewa Bharati activists. The women were advised to present the matter before the District Collector under the SHG banner in person. The gravity of the problem expressed by the SHG women was appreciated and the District Collector ordered to shift the government-owned liquor shop to another place. And it is no more an arduous task for women to approach the bureaucratic systems, to derive the needed results in order to eradicate social evils afflicting the society.
The village called Maruthancode witnessed a unique revolution. The SHG women ruined one production unit of spurious liquor under the banner of Ayurvedic medicines established in their locality by some anti-social elements thereby manufacturing large quantities of intoxicating drink called Arishtam, which was sold at a cheaper price. The drink worked as a slow poison for the persons who consumed it resulting in incapacitation. Some persons even died of various unknown ailments caused by it. Since the unit was situated near a temple and a bus stop, it was creating a problem to the women going to the temple and waiting for a bus.
Sewa Bharati SHGs for women in the village decided in one of their weekly meetings to root out the menace of the spurious liquor-producing unit. All the members rounded up the unit and staged a demonstration. The owner of the unit locked the building and ran away. The crowd was persuaded by Sewa Bharati organisers to disperse and a complaint was lodged in the Police Station concerned. The police were reluctant to take any action on the ground that the owner possessed a license for the unit. The SHG women with much perseverance and belligerence knocked the doors of local court and filed a law suit, to unravel the mysteries and mischief in issuing such licenses, and proved the violations of the terms of the license by all such license holders in black and white and managed to get a decree in their favour.
This judgment proved to be a yardstick for the entire State of Tamil Nadu. During the entire process the goondas hired by the owners of the unit threatened the women. Now the village is free from the menace of the spurious liquor, thanks to the efforts of the SHGs and Sewa Bharati. The women are up in arms to fight the social evils. The owners of such units presented the details of this case and a paper regarding the menace of Arishtam before the Madras High Court where the criminal petitions were filed against the District authorities to get a judgment banning the production and sale of Arishtam throughout the entire Kanyakumari district.
Seva Bharathi Tamilnadu
79, Alagappa Road, Purasawalkam,
Chennai - 600 084
12, M. V. Naidu Street, Panchavati,
Chetpet, Chennai - 600 031
Phone: +91 - 44 - 2836 1049 / 2836 0243
Fax: +91 - 44 - 2836 1887
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