A wooden bat: not exactly the first thing to come to mind when you think "wedding gift," but that is indeed the wedding gift that hundreds of new brides in India recently received from the state minister of Madhya Pradesh. The actual purpose of the 15-inch-long, paddle-shaped bats is to beat dirt out of clothes at a laundry, but the minister instructed the brides to use them to beat their husbands should the men become abusive or alcoholic. Of course, Gopal Bhargava told the women, first they should try to talk things out with their husbands, but the bats can be used if that tactic doesn't work, the BBC reports.
The paddles even came bearing special messages: "For beating drunkards" and "Police won't intervene," AFP reports. They were given out to almost 700 brides at a government-organized mass wedding Saturday. Bhargava tells the AFP he's trying to raise awareness of domestic abuse that can plague women in rural areas. "Women say whenever their husbands get drunk they become violent," he explains. "Their savings are taken away and splurged on liquor." He told the brides they could also use the bats against other drunk family members, the Hindustan Times reports. He ordered almost 10,000 more bats to give away to newlyweds in the future. Other Indian states are taking more traditional steps to combat alcohol abuse, such as cracking down on liquor sales. (You can register for pizza as a wedding gift.)