A team of wonder women at Asha’s Mayapuri slum

Living in a patriarchal society is difficult than being said. Can you imagine a young woman walking down the street alone being hooted and eve-teased by the drunkards sitting across the edges? Now think of the similar situation but in a slum area. Of course, it is worse!

Asha’s Mayapuri slum, Asia’s largest scrap market is situated along the fringes of Western Railway route. Heaps of garbage and plastic waste surrounds the railway tracks. Young tots and grown-ups sitting and excreting alongside is a common scenario there.

People sitting on the railway tracks at Mayapuri slum
People sitting on the railway tracks at Mayapuri slum

The regular brawls by the alcoholics triggered a rage against the illegal beer shops and spots. Tired of confronting the fights every day, the women association of Asha’s Mayapuri slum community decided to knock them out one by one.

A team led by Sumitra, Prema, Sushma and members of the Mahila Mandal visited the neighbouring police station to register a complaint against unauthorised alcohol selling. Upon interrogation, Sumitra explained how a liquor dealer from Tilak Nagar visited Mayapuri and started selling cheap beer bottles alongside the slum. Due to the easy access, not only adults but children as young as six years of age began intake of alcohol. A rise in the frequency of fights was also evident, where women were the most vulnerable target for drunkards.

“It had become next to impossible for a young girl or woman to cross these dipsomaniacs. We were so tired of listening to eve-teasing. Thefts in the area were also on the rise,” says 64-year-old Sumitra. To threaten the ladies, the liquor dealer once indulged in a fight with Prema Singh’s son, but this couldn’t break the courage of these women.

With the help of Asha’s bold team, police not only located the spot under the bushes, where the beer bottles were kept but also seized them. In less than a month, the liquor dealer resumed the supply again. But this time, police nabbed and imprisoned him for 10 days, along with a heavy penalty.

Asha’s Women Association have been very active from last few months in sealing down unauthorised liquor shops in the area. The entire slum community lauded Asha’s efforts and rejoiced the power of women.

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