In the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, 700 brides at a mass wedding were presented with wooden bats and told to use them as weapons should their husbands become drunk or abusive.
The paddles are normally used for getting dirt out of clothes in traditional laundries, but those given out to the brides were stamped with pink and blue messages saying "a gift to keep drunks in check" and "police won't say anything".
At the ceremony in central India over the weekend, Gopal Bhargava, the minister of social justice and rural development, presented women with the bats and urged them to put them to use if necessary.
He said: “If your husband or any other member of family comes home drunk, treat him with it.” Mr Bhargava has ordered nearly 10,000 bats for distribution to newlywed women.
He explained that the purpose of the bats was to help rural women protect themselves as concerns over alcoholism mount in India.