‘Daawat Without Daaru’ (DWD) (meaning party without liquor) – this strange but catchy slogan amused many when it was first launched earlier this year, but has slowly gained momentum. Spearheaded by Zindagi Images, a popular image sharing group on Facebook with over 2.29 lakh members, DWD is a campaign against alcoholism.
Chegondi Chandrashekar, a social activist from Telangana who founded Zindagi Images in 2013, came up with the idea of DWD in order to combat the craze for alcohol. It has become the norm to serve alcohol at events ranging from birthday celebrations, bachelor parties and casual gatherings with friends.
Speaking to TNM, Chegondi said, “Liquor has become a big issue. Like many social menaces alcoholism is also one among the serious issues we need to be concerned about.”
Several likeminded members of Zindagi Images came together to launch the campaign in March 2019. “I was thinking alcoholism is becoming a reason for many extreme decisions such as self-killing, road rage and accidents. Many take to alcohol thinking it will solve their problems but it actually ends up making them more vulnerable,” Chegondi added.
When he proposed the idea of the campaign, many agreed immediately and soon started sharing posters to discourage excessive drinking and highlighting its dangerous outcomes with subtle messages.
The campaign went on to became a hit, with many spreading the word in family functions. Several people who were inspired by it started posting photos of parties organised without alcohol.
Chegondi believes that there should be state-run deaddiction centres across Telangana to assist people who want to give up drinking. “We can create awareness. The government needs to bring in policy decisions that include deaddiction centres,” he explained.
Senior IPS officer and Social Welfare Educational Institutions Secretary Dr RS Praveen Kumar, Dr Bhushan Raj from the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS Hyderabad) and activists working on different social issues attended the DWD campaign launch on March 24.
Ramya Day, in remembrance of drunk driving victim
It may be recalled that Ramya, a nine-year-old girl, died in a drunk driving accident in 2016. The incident, which happened in Hyderabad’s West Maredpally, triggered a lot of outrage. A 20-year-old student was arrested in the case on charges of drunk driving.
Earlier this month, Zindagi Images organised Ramya Day in order to remember the victims of drunk driving and discuss solutions to the menace. Ramya’s parents and relatives attended the event along with several members of Zindagi Images.
“Ramya is a victim of drunk driving, she had to leave this world at a very early age because of someone’s carelessness,” Chegondi said.
Zindagi Images, which has as many as 45 admins, is using creative methods to publicise the campaign against alcohol, such as memes and posters. Chegondi said, “It’s encouraging to see that many youngsters are turning up for the campaign, we will carry it forward for the betterment of vulnerable lives.”