In a bizarre incident, a minister in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh gifted a mogri (wooden bat) to each of the 700-odd brides at a mass marriage ceremony. The mogri is traditionally used to wash clothes, but Gopal Bhargava, the state minister of Panchayati Raj and rural development, advised the brides to use the piece of wood to whack their husbands if they turn alcoholic or harass them and refuse to mend their ways. The bats had the words ‘Sharabiyon ke sutara hetu bhent, police nahi bolegi’ (Gift for beating drunkards – police will not intervene) inscribed on them.
It happened on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya. “Whenever I visit any rural or urban area in my constituency, women complain about their husband’s drinking habits. They inform me that whatever little they earn is snatched away by their husband for alcohol. They women] are also subjected to physical violence,” Bhargava told PTI. “The idea of gifting mogri struck me when a woman asked me whether she should get her husband to stop drinking by beating him with a wooden plank,” the minister added.