GADAG: No tea stalls, no liquor shops and no gossip. Won’t life be drab in the absence of these? Not really, villagers of Lingadal in Gadag district would say. And they have reasons aplenty to support their opinion. The decision taken seven decades ago not to allow tea shops, liquor outlets and gambling centres in the village has paid rich dividends for them. Considering the low crime rate, Lingadal can be considered no less than a utopian village of modern times.
Hardly one or two cases reach the police station here and incidents of petty fights and thefts are seldom heard of in this ideal village with a population of 4,000. “We are proud to be born in the village which has managed to follow a noble tradition for the past seven decades. There is no place for tipsy revellers and gossip mongers here. If any visitor is found creating nuisance in a drunken state, he is fined and punished by the village seniors. Peace and harmony prevail in this village only because there are no tea stalls, liquor shops and gambling centres here,” said youngster Basavaraj Yellappa Badagi.
“In pre-independence era, there were six tea stalls and a few liquor outlets in this village. But a quarrel between two groups at a tea stall changed everything. The fight resulted in killings and injuries to some villagers, and consequently elders took the tough call of banning all the tea and liquor shops. In 1947, when the country got freedom from British rule, Lingadal got rid of all the gossip centres,” said an octogenarian from the village.
“No gambling was allowed and those who indulged in drunken revelry were tied to a pole and punished. That served as deterrent. Nobody ever tried to put up a tea stall or indulge in gambling here. Guests are taken to neighbours’ houses in case the members of the host families are teetotallers,” he added. Villagers gather at a temple or school premises to discuss issues concerning village and they also celebrate the religious festivals and functions together. “This village is not for lazy persons who only gossip at tea stalls,” said a man in his fifties. Villagers strictly follow the seven-decades long tradition and also teach youngsters to stay away from all types of vices.
No booze flow during polls too
While booze and money flow freely during elections in most parts of the country, this village unites to select its leader. Neither money nor booze comes into picture during polls here as they cannot influence villagers of Lingadal, who are determined to uphold their culture and tradition. “Ahead of polls, we all villagers unite and select one candidate with a clean past and image. Nobody is allowed to indulge in unnecessary criticism of the elected leader. If there are issues and grievances, village elders contact the leader and officials concerned and get them redressed immediately,” said a villager.