Why would a village in Gujarat, some 100 kms from the capital, ban unmarried females from carrying around a mobile phone? Because they can. Duh.
Taking patriarchy a little too seriously, the village of Suraj, in the prime minister's native district Mehsana, has banned mobile phones for unmarried women. If you are an unmarried female, using or possessing a mobile phone can get you into trouble with the khap-like panchayat. Women caught flouting the rule will be forced to pay up Rs 2,100. There is also a Rs 200 reward for the informer.
Suraj village sarpnach Devshi Vankar's not-so-forward thinking as told revealed to The Hindustan Times:
Why do girls need cell phone? Internet is a waste of time and money for a middle-class community like us. Girls should better utilise their time for study and other works.
There is an exception to the rule - if a relative wants to talk to a girl, her parents can pass on their phones for conversation. We are so grateful for the thoughtfulness.
If you are still looking for a motive behind the ban, prepare to be shocked just a little more. The mobile phone ban for women can be traced to an alcohol de-addiction drive started by the politically influential Thakor community of the village mainly aimed at men.
Still trying to wrap your head around the issue? This should help (or not) - community leaders feel just like liquor by men, the use of cell phones by unmarried women created a nuisance in society. That explains everything.
Like Raikarnji Thakor, a community leader from north Gujarat, clarified to HT:
Alcohol consumption by men and cell phone use by women create a lot of disturbance in society. Young girls get misguided. It can break families and ruin relationship. It (the ban) is the villagers’ idea only.