Chapter 02: Politics - Field Stories
Related Countries:
The 1990s Anti-Alcohol Movement in Andhra Pradesh, India

In 1991, women from the rural Dubuganta district in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh sought to address growing alcohol dependency among men and the consequent problems of domestic abuse and squandered household income by staging protests aimed at forcing out local liquor traders. The protests quickly spread across the whole state. The struggle catalyzed a larger social movement, known as the Anti-Liquor Movement, leading ultimately to a state-wide ban on alcoholic beverages, passed in 1995.

The Anti-Liquor Movement was a significant political achievement because:

  • It forged a coalition between rural and urban women of different castes and religions, and
  • It transformed a 'women's issue' into a campaign platform issue that significantly determined the outcome of the 1994 state election.

In 1992, the movement entered the domain of electoral politics, asking that parties declare their positions on the prohibition of alcohol. In 1994, the Telugu Desam Party, which had campaigned on a platform of prohibition and received support from women's groups, won state-level elections. The party passed the prohibition law a month after taking power.

Although the prohibition was partially abandoned in 1997, the antiliquor movement helped increase the participation of women in the public sphere and empowered women to mobilize effectively.