Mard Bachao Andolan

by Mallika Nawal - Oct 20, 2016 04:29 PM +05:30 IST
Mard Bachao AndolanPhoto: Sonu Kishan/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Why Nitish Kumar is absolutely right to imprison the wives of the men who have been found drunk in Bihar. They are to blame.

Once upon, four months ago, the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016 was passed on 1 April 2016. An amendment to the Bihar Excise Act has now been passed in the Bihar Legislative Council. And, thus, has been born the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Bill, 2016—a legendary piece of legislation. What makes the new law truly unique is that it has finally managed to uproot the Colonial Common Sense and Common Law (forged by the British that was based on Principles of Natural Justice) and replace it with some sound Bihari wisdom: Why punish one when you can punish all?

The most “controversial” of the provisions (amongst the many provisions of the latest amendment) is one wherein all adult members of a family can be arrested even if only one member of the family is found responsible for possession and/or consumption of liquor at home, and the property itself gets confiscated. The basic assumption at play here is that all adult members of the family (which includes the wife of the offender) must be in the know and shall be held responsible until proven otherwise.

(Note: According to Section 2 sub-section 30 of the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Bill, 2016, “family” means man and his wife living together in a house along with their dependent children).

In addition, it is now a non-bailable offence and even a mix of sugar or jaggery with grapes can land a person (and his erring wife) in jail.

I know there are many of you who consider the bill draconian and absurd. Some are even questioning the very motive of the Hon’ble Chief Minister, believing that the move comes with a 2019 implication. Then again, there are some who are indulging in the rhetoric and the polemic, posing the question: “How can a law that was brought about to save women now comes armed with a provision to arrest the same women?”

Well, to all those disbelievers and naysayers, I say this: Maybe to you, it doesn’t make any sense, but to me (just as my Chief Minister intended), it makes complete sense. You see, once upon a time, there was a popular adage: Behind every successful man is a woman. Truth is, the wise men (or women) deliberately altered an important word in the adage, probably to serve their own puny political interests. Thankfully though, the conspiracy was successfully unearthed in time by the wise Chief Minister of Bihar, Shri Nitish Kumar, who was dismayed to find out that the accurate adage actually went something like this: Behind every drunk man is a woman!

Armed with his newfound knowledge, he quickly began to put the adage to good use and brought about the latest amendment to the prohibition policy. You see, there is at least one man in the country who possesses the power of foresight, a.k.a. the Chief Minister or the Prime Minister (of the state). (Note: A quick lesson in English: the words “prime” and “chief” are synonyms. Hence, every chief minister is the prime minister of his state! Forget foreplay, wordplay is the most important art a woman needs to master.

Thus, unlike his counterparts, Nitish Kumar was not going to waste time treating the symptom, when he could handle the problem directly. And the problem, to be completely honest, is women! And we women cannot absolve ourselves from the roles we play in driving men to drink. Maybe it’s time we women accepted our responsibilities and accepted punishment for our well-carried-out crimes, i.e. for driving our menfolk to drink.

The Mother

You see, it starts right after birth. Do you know what is the usual first food for babies? Sweet potatoes! Hence, when the infant grows up and is ready for his first meal, the mother feeds him sweet potatoes. And of course, if you are the “spirit”(ually) enlightened, you already know that Potatoes = Vodka. Hence, the mother is subconsciously setting her child on to the path of “spiritual” enlightenment. Does it then surprise us that those very men— in adulthood— develop a taste for the spirits. After all, it reminds him of his mother. (I am sure Freud, too, is nodding his head somewhere).

The Jilted Lover’s Lover

Well, let’s admit it, we women are heartbreakers and we so love breaking hearts. Thus, when the doe-eyed boy in school or college manages to garner enough strength to propose to us, what do we do? We say “No” (how dare we?!)! It is no wonder then that the poor boy takes refuge in bad company and tries to drink his way to his healed heart. Then again, only those who have felt the heart-crushing pain of unrequited love can truly understand his painful plight. We women actually deserve no consolation. After all, we not only drove him to the depths of the wine cellar, we actually managed to drive him to the whore.

The Whore

So, what does a man do when he is wronged by a woman. Well, he goes to the “wrong” woman. It is the very principle that is best expressed through the Hindi phrase Loha hi lohe ko katta hai (only diamonds cut diamonds). Or, “when a woman hurts, a woman also heals”. Or, “to get over a woman, get under a woman”. Hence, when a man gets his heart broken by a cruel whore, he goes to the whore. It’s the classic Devdas syndrome. (And, of course, as we all know— and as Shah Rukh Khan told us, once in the embrace of the whore, the man needs the wine to bardasht (tolerate) the woman).

The Lover

The Hindi film Dil To Pagal Hai taught us an important “love” principle: There is someone for everyone! Thus, very soon, the man meets another woman— possibly the “right” woman. (Note: Although he never forgets the one he truly once-upon-a-time loved). As he coochie-coos with her, serenading her with the hit song “Nasheeli aankhen jo teri dekhi”, her intoxicating eyes again remind him of the exhilarating effect of the intoxicant. Hence, he hits the bottle— yet again.

The Ardhangini

Marriages in India are a sacrament, where the man and wife together form a single unit—a single body. Thus, the wife is called the ardhangini (half + body). Thus, when a man gets married, he experiences an unprecedented surge of joy at discovering his better half. Thereafter, if the man drinks, you need to put his whole body behind bars. Thus, his better half, along with his bad half, needs to rot in prison. (Besides, if we women continue to cook sumptuous starters, what option does the man have but to use it as chakhna to accompany his manly drinks?)

The Nag

Of course, sometimes— just like cancer— the better half of the man turns into the worse half. The man, thus, plummets into the deep dark wells of doom and gloom. As his patience runs thin, listening constantly to the whiny nagging spouse, he seeks silence and solace in some scotch. And, thus, the callous wife strikes again! Shame on us women.

The Hag

As Father Time potters along, the once mesmerising wife who came with intoxicating eyes actually starts resembling the ugly crone from his children’s fairy tales. But what can he do now? What choice does he have now? For the bonds of holy marriage are not only sacrosanct, they actually get stronger over time. (Take that, Fevicol!). And so, he drinks to forget his troubles and to feel alive once again.

Thank God, I’m not married. At least, I saved one man!

Mallika Nawal is a professor-cum-author, about to complete her doctorate in marketing from IIT Kharagpur. She is the author of three management books which serve as prescribed textbooks in several universities across India. She has taught at premier institutes like IIT Kharagpur, and S. P. Jain Centre of Management, Dubai.
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