This minister gives brides wooden bats – the reason why is horrifying

By Kim Abrahams
03 May 2017

Quite an unusual wedding gift, isn’t it?

An Indian state minister has issued hundreds of newlywed brides with cricket-style bats so that they can beat their husbands if they ever become abusive.

Gopal Bhargava, a state minister in Madhya Pradesh, gave the bats to 700 brides at a mass wedding held in the country the past weekend.

Bhargava, who belongs to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, says he wants to raise awareness about domestic abuse in rural spouses; an issue that is heightened when husbands are under the influence of alcohol.

“Women say whenever their husbands get drunk they become violent. Their savings are taken away and splurged on liquor,” he told AFP. And the minister has now turned to bats, or mogri – traditionally used to clean dirty clothes – in an attempt to deal with the pressing issue.

The bats, which he intends to distribute to 10 000 more women, feature messages such as ‘For beating drunkards’ and ‘Police won’t intervene’ on them.

And while handing out the bats could be interpreted as inciting violence, Bhargava says he hopes they'll do quite the opposite.

“There is no intent to provoke women or instigate them to violence but the bat is to prevent violence.”

According to BBC, he also modestly urged the brides to first reason with their husbands and if unsuccessful, ‘let the bats do the talking’.

This is an interesting move for the Indian government, in a country where marital rape is not considered a crime if the bride is over 15 years of age.

Critics suggest it could be a way of securing votes ahead of state elections next year.

Either way, it still is a thoughtful form of campaigning.


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