DailyPost 2217

In no other country liquor would be having as many connotations; religious, social, political, economic and criminal. Liquor also does not have so many avatars as in India. The folklore around it is even more interesting. How different classes treat liquor is extremely fascinating. The multifaceted sociology and economy of liquor has not been researched upon, may be that even is a taboo. Morality or perpetrated morality decides what liquor can do and how it should be dealt with by the rulers and powers that be. Till today we don’t have a uniform liquor law in the country and state boundaries can be legally treated worse than international borders.

The queer mix of morality, economics, polity, crime and corruption is all what liquor is all about in this country. By no stretch of imagination, it can ever be stitched into one organic whole. In the Indian union we have states where prohibition is the legal state. At least in the last state which went in for prohibition, the alleviation of women from misery was one of the reasons. So, we have from the legally dry states to the pub cities, Bangalore being the leader, which shows the way of merging tech with life, prosperity, fun and frolic for a wholesome existence, more so for younger and working group. As a matter of fact, none of the big cities in the country are dry.

When Bangalore opened after the first lockdown, we had the longest queue outside Tonique, in the liquor sale history of India. Is drinking a matter of personal choice, or the state can dictate it? What percentage of people would not indulge in drinking after living in a dry state for long years. Does liquor connect to the business environment and the hospitality industry? Why is getting drunk and unruly a part of Indian behaviour, while being nearly totally absent in the developed world. Is responsible drinking not a part of our culture? And what about the rich brats, who after getting fully drunk take on to the wheels to kill.

Wine with women and wealth is an age-old vice truism in this country. Fortunately, in the same country, it is one of the main sources of revenue for the state exchequer. Excise is a money spinner is more ways than one. Has liquor become a multi-headed hydra, because of our messed-up thought process or lack of uniformity, or because it piggy backs corruption. The government of India’s capital seems to be completely embroiled is such criminal cases. It is said the dry states have a very well-oiled supply chain and deliver of liquor. In a recent judgement Patna High Court has talked of prohibition’s negative aspects including rising liquor smuggling involving juveniles, villagers, politicians and police personnel. The judgement talks of nine categories of crimes / social evils on the increase in this pretext including drug addictions, trade of banned narcotics, rise in vehicle thefts, rise in hooch deaths etc.

Sanjay Sahay

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