A village of just around 450 people has been practicing something for 100 years that no one else – community or individual – has been able to master: alcohol abstinence.
Kasahi, a small, nondescript village in Chhattisgarh’s Bhilai district can be called a culturally model village. People here recently celebrated their 100th anniversary of alcohol abstinence.
Followers of Kabir, the villagers adhere to a very strict anti-alcohol policy.
No one knows when or why the ban on alcohol was imposed on the village, but villagers are certain it was done by their forefathers. But some say the ban was imposed because their forefathers believed that alcohol is dangerous for the society and nation. Others say that not consuming alcohol was a tradition which later evolved into a ban.
This anti-alcohol policy extends to marital ties as well.
A special vigilance team is formed to check if the family of a prospective bride or groom follows the same principle or not.
This village is also inspiring other villages. Bhardkala, Gandri, Tatenga, Naghanda and Auri are some villages where the women are chasing away anyone who comes with the intention of selling alcohol.
Kasahi is a unique agrarian village. Farming is the main occupation and everyone is vegetarian. They do not even domesticate goats or poultry.
Such a small village steadfastly holding on to an anti-alcohol tradition for 100 years is indeed a remarkable feat.
Ironically, Chhattisgarh is one of India’s two states with very high alcohol consumption rates.
A recent OECD report revealed that alcohol consumption in India had risen 55 per cent in the last 20 years. The figure is alarming because it puts India in the third position among 40 countries.
While government policies towards alcohol reduction and prevention are yet to bear results, this small village has already achieved that.