An Indian state minister has given hundreds of wooden bats to newly-wed brides, urging them to use the paddle as a weapon if their husbands turn alcoholic or abusive.
Gopal Bhargava gave the bats which are used to get some dirt out of clothes in traditional laundries to nearly 700 brides at a mass wedding organised by the government of central Madhya Pradesh state on Saturday.
The nearly foot-long paddles are emblazoned with messages that read: “For beating drunkards” and “Police won’t intervene”. Bhargava told the brides to reason with their husbands first, adding that they should “let the wooden paddles do the talking” if their spouses refuse to listen.
Bhargava said he wanted to draw attention to the plight of rural women who face domestic abuse from their alcoholic husbands. “Women say whenever their husbands get drunk they become violent.
Their savings are taken away and splurged on liquor,” he said. “There is no intent to provoke women or instigate them to violence but the bat is to prevent violence.” The minister has ordered nearly 10,000 bats for distribution to newly-wed women.