Gambling in India: Man loses three-year-old son to co-villager

Manoj Chaurasia
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Gambling is slowly emerging as a serious problem in the eastern Indian state of Bihar. What’s worrying for the authorities is that the gamblers have now begun putting their family members on bet after losing money in the gamble.

The local village courts eventually had to instantly intervene in the matter to sort out the issues before they could blow up into a serious laws and order problem.

In a latest incident, a man from Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district put his three-year-old son on bet after losing all money in the gamble and eventually lost his son too. Santosh Kumar lost everything to his co-villager Ram Bhajan Sah after which he put his toddler on the bet as his last effort last weekend. But lady luck failed to favor him here too and he lost his child to his competitor.

Three-year-old boy (in green shirt) sitting in the lap of his father who lost him in the gamble. The victor is seen in red shirt. (Supplied)
Three-year-old boy (in green shirt) sitting in the lap of his father who lost him in the gamble. The victor is seen in red shirt. (Supplied)

Soon after winning the boy in the bet, the winner grabbed the boy Samar Kumar by his hand and tried to take him home when his father protested, sparking tension in the areas. As the issue threatened law and order situation in the areas, a village court was instantly held at the village the very next day.

After hearing the case, the court ordered both the sides to do sit-up while banning gambling in the village. While the loser was asked to do sit-ups 50 times, the victor was told to do the same 25 times. The accused persons also apologized for their conduct in public and gave a written assurance about not indulge in such acts in future. It was only after then that they could be let off.

“It’s really serious to put his son or someone from the family on bet. We have taken it very seriously and banned gambling in the village. From now on anyone caught involved in this will face severe punitive action,” local sarpanch Shivpati Devi told the media.

The village court in progress. (Supplied)
The village court in progress. (Supplied)

A ‘sarpanch’ is the elected head of a village-level statutory institution of local self-government with limited judicial powers. The decision was also communicated ot the local police. This incident reminds the great legend from an ancient Indian epic Mahabharata where the Pandavas had lost their wife Draupadi to the Kaurava in the gamble.

The humiliation meted out to the Pandavas by the opposite side is said to be one of the main reasons behind the great battle of Mahabharata fought in the sprawling ground of Kurukshetra, a place, which now falls in the northern Indian state of Haryana. The Mahabharata war lasted for 18 days where the Pandavas ultimately emerged as the winner.

Very strangely, this was not for the first time that such incident had been reported from Bihar. A similar incident had been reported from Bihta town of Patna district earlier where a man lost his wife in a gamble just over a bottle of liquor.

The village court order banning gambling in the village. (Supplied)
The village court order banning gambling in the village. (Supplied)

The entire story came to light after the winner started calling the woman on her cell phone claiming that he was her new husband and threatened her with dire consequences if she did not talk properly with him whenever he called her. It was then that she reported the matter to the Women helpline.

Another incident was reported Bihar’s Banka district in October 2007 where a 25-year-old woman was gambled away to a local villager Bambholi Yadav during the annual gambling fair. Subsequently, the victor hugged her in full public view before taking her to his house where she stayed for two days. She was finally rescued and restored to her husband after two days following intervention by fellow villagers.

The woman who was an ace gambler had been winning handsome cash every year during the gambling fair but this time she ended up losing the principal amount of Rs7,000 after initially winning some cash. Eventually, she placed herself on the bet after losing all the cash and lost to the villager.

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