A local court in a small village in India has banned all forms of gambling after a local man bet – and lost – his three-year-old son to another gambler.
Last week, media in the Indian state of Bihar reported that a man named Santosh Kumar from a small village in the Muzaffarpur district had gone on a lengthy losing streak in an unspecified form of gambling with another villager. Having lost all his other possessions, Kumar decided to use his three-year-old son as collateral in a wagering Hail Mary.
But Kumar lost that gamble, and his rival Ram Bhajan Sah duly took his new adopted toddler by the hand and began to lead him away. At this point, the world’s worst father had a sudden attack of scruples, presumably due to his fears of how he’d explain Junior’s absence to his wife that night over dinner.
Tempers quickly flew as the rest of the village began squaring up on either side of this debate. The village sarpanch, who serves as a liaison between government and local residents, promptly convened an emergency session of the village court, and after hearing both sides, the kid was returned to his father’s custody.
However, in order to convey to the two gamblers the seriousness of this incident, the sarpanch ordered Bad Dad to do 50 sit-ups, because apparently nothing teaches Responsible Parenting 101 to an Indian problem gambler like working on one’s abdominals. Applying the doctine of proportional justice, the winning gambler was ordered to do 25 sit-ups.
After Kumar and his rival had formally apologized to the village, the sarpanch declared that gambling was now strictly off limits for all villagers, and anyone found to be violating this ban would face “severe punitive action,” which probably means having to do a few pull-ups, and possibly some walking lunges if the violation is particularly egregious.
Banning gambling in India isn’t saying much, as most forms of gambling are already illegal, with the exception of state lotteries. Indians in the states of Goa and Damman have a few legal casinos at their disposal, while Sikkim residents can (for the moment) access local sports betting shops and well-heeled Indians can wager on the ponies. India has been repeatedly urged to legalize and regulate sports betting nationwide, but the government appears unmoved by these pleas.