As a part of social experiment to combat alcoholism, Nat community across 24 villages of Gujarat developed caging for members who are caught in an intoxicated state. They are imposing a fine of Rs 1,200 on those caught in this matter. The Nat community claims that these moves are paying off well and are acting to curb the consumption of alcohol and getting more and more people detained in the village. This experiment is fast gaining traction in Gujarat, where liquor prohibition is in effect.
Ever since this caging of drunkards in a makeshift jail has become a successful experiment in Motipura village, 23 more villages across Ahmedabad, Surendranagar, Amreli and Kutch districts are inspired by this and have carried out this kind of experiment in their own villages. The fine has been increased to Rs 2,500 and the money collected will be used to fund local socio-religious events.
Though Gujarat is a dry state with a strong prohibition law against alcohol, the menace of liquor consumption has been extremely high in the community. Most of these 24 villages have about 100 to 150 “liquor widows”, women who have lost their husbands to extreme alcoholism. After bearing the brunt, now it is the women of the village who have been entangled in this fight against alcoholism and are tipping off inputs regarding drunkards in the village, they have been awarded Rs 1,100 from every collected fine.
On this regard, Babu Nayak, the sarpanch of Nat community in Motipura district, reportedly stated that “The menace of drunk husbands creating a ruckus and indulging in domestic violence has simmered down by 90%”. Spending a night in a village cage and community leaders warning them of a social boycott has been proved as a major preventive measure. “We don’t hand over the drunk culprits to the police. Ours is more of a social and community intervention,” he added
”In 2017, we first decided to impose a fine of Rs 1,200 on drunkards, but the community members later realised that was not enough, so the rule of caging such people for a night was framed,” Nayak said.
A Flying squad which includes elderly people carry out surprise checking tests. Even if a drunk person is caught through a sniff test, then also, they will have to spend a night in the make-shift jail. In 2019 itself the Nat community in Motipura village of Ahmedabad district had given the idea of setting up a makeshift prison and making the culprits stay there overnight and impose a fine.