Kalyani Palui and her girl gang’s fight against hooch dens
Come winter and every year a particular news, hits the headlines – how country liquor or cholai has not just ruined the lives of youngsters and old alike in rural areas, but even caused death due to consumption of spurious liquor. Despite awareness programmes by government and local NGOs, or even crackdown on the shops selling such illegal alcohol, the death toll continues every year. May be lack of education and poverty are to be blamed.
However, amidst all the socio-economic chaos, one woman in Howrah’s Shantipur has taken up the cudgels to fight out the country liquor shops and the goons who run it. She might be a housewife, but the sheer courage of Kalyani Paluiwho has sworn to uproot the illegal business of hooch in Howrah is commendable.In an attempt to fulfill this mission, she is running an operation against the illegal business with the help of a 115 women brigade. She is so committed to her mission, that even the liquor dealers and cholaicustomers are petrified and unnerved by her name. Paluihas been rewarded by the Women Commission of West Bengal for her contribution in social work in 2016. And the mission of this Lady Singham still continues.
Kalyani Palui has had an agonizing past. She was a resident of Tulsibariya village of Rajapur where she lived with her husband and children. Her husband workedat the National JuteMill and died in 1997 in a factory accident. Kalyani showed her grit back then, raising her children all alone, after the untimely demise of her husband. Poverty has been a constant companion of the family since the tragedy but that did not stop her fromtaking up social responsibilities. She has been associated with various social activities, including running school for street children. The untimely deaths of young men caused by hooch had also perturbed her and she decided to stand up against it. The journey has not been easy and she had to face a lot of repercussions in the process. Even death threats could not keep her away from her mission. Later, 115 women joined her and now it has almost turned into a movement. More than 60 hooch joints have been demolished by this group in the recent past.
Once, Tulsibariyawas a haven to illegal local liquor shops. More than 1200 litres of country liquor used to be supplied to various places from 60 hooch joints in this area. But now, Kalyani Palui and her girl gang have made a noteworthy change in this scenario. Even the liquor dealers of the area now feel threatened by the indomitable spirit of these women.