MADURAI: For 22-year-old final year law student Nandhini, who has been waging a peaceful yet relentless battle against the liquor monster since 2012, it is the means that justify the end.
Within two years, she has done it all — organising protests, launching hunger strikes, conducting surveys and campaigning among the school children — along with her father Anandan (49). But it has not been an easy journey for the duo. Many a time, they have faced opposition at the hands of the police and school teachers.
“Police repeatedly attempt to disrupt our protests, but what they fail to realise is that they are making us stronger everyday. Our struggle is not aimed at achieving immediate results. We are only preparing the public, especially the youth, to fight their own battle against TASMAC,” says Nandhini, while distributing pamphlets to students outside the Government High School at Puliyankulam village near Madurai.
Anandan retired from government services voluntarily in 2008 to campaign against various social issues. For Nandhini, it was the death of her close friend, Banupriya’s father due to alcoholism that inspired her to embark on this mission. “My friend had dreamed of becoming an IAS officer. But her father’s death left her with no choice but to find work and take care of her family,” she recounts.
When Nandhini joined the Government Law College, Madurai, she came across more people with similar stories. She, along with a few of her classmates, then conducted a sample survey with a few families near their college.
“We found that most of the men used to come home in an inebriated state every night and used to torture their wives. They also snatch the wives’ hard-earned money to buy liquor. If they refuse to hand it over, the men beat the children up so as to emotionally blackmail the wife,” says Nandhini.
“We found 17 children, who have lost their father due to alcoholism,” says Anandhan. On November 2013, the two organised a protest along with the 17 students in Madurai. Since then, the duo have visited nearly 500 schools in the southern district and have been campaigning among the children. “We are now mainly focusing on the school kids as they themselves are becoming addicted to alcohol. We give them counselling,” says Anandan.