Recently the honorable Chief Minister of Bihar Mr. Nitish Kumar completely banned alcohol in Bihar, adding it to the list of completely dry states along with Gujarat and Kerala. The government stated that a study showed that majority of domestic violence cases take place due to the influence of alcohol and more than 65% ladies of Bihar demanded a complete ban on alcohol.
The biggest question that comes up is ‘Does alcoholism triggers domestic violence?’ or ‘ Does the ban guarantee that it would lead to a reduce in the number of such cases?’. Secondly, we live in a democratic country and isn’t this ban foregoing our right to choice?, Don’t we have a right to have a couple of drinks whenever we want to?.
Banning something is never the solution to the problem. I completely agree that alcoholism is a problem but it is a medical problem and a ban is never the solution to a medical problem. We all are very well aware of the fact that a person who is an addict to alcohol will go up to any extent to quench his thirst for the same.
Recently an interview was aired on NDTV of Mr. Rajeev, a retired lawyer and currently he recovered from a hard core alcoholic. Some of his words regarding the same topic are penned down over here, “Today a lawyer speaks, who did not practice much at The Delhi High Court Bar but practiced more frequently and vigorously at The Club Bar. I was a hard core alcoholic who could not even pass a single day without consuming alcohol continuously for 28 years but since last 18 years I haven’t even had a drop of it. So, I have experienced both the sides of this coin and let me tell you my friends that an alcoholic, a person who is addicted to alcohol would not care about the way, will break all the chains and somehow will manage to get it. So a ban over alcohol is never going to prove successful.”
The first thing that comes up in a state when something is banned or rationed, is the illegal empire of boot legging. Talking in the context of alcohol only, Gujarat and Kerala are the states that have this kind of ban from a long time and everybody knows that bootleggers have a vast business empire in both the states. The Bihar Government states said that this ban is for the good of people, actually it is. Now people won’t feel the need to reach the liquor shops in order to get some, instead just make a phone call and the bootlegger is going to deliver it at your place. A report by WHO shows that more than 50% of alcohol sold in India is unaccounted, and we say that booze ban is going to reduce the consumption. Even the history states that whosoever tried to implement such kind of a ban, came out with nothing but failure. Even the marijuana ban in certain states of USA proved to be a failure and the ban was taken back with certain restrictions being imposed on the sale.
If we really want to reduce consumption and that too really for the sake of people, why don’t we come up with certain middle ground solution that would actually lead to reduce in consumption and would inform women about their rights.
According to the Government, the biggest reason behind this ban is the demand of females who think that banning would lead to a reduce in number of domestic violence cases. Well, if we really want to reduce the number then why don’t we make the women aware about their rights and the laws. Why can’t they raise voices against such cases instead of suffering and put that person behind the bars. Aren’t there any domestic violence cases taking place where the person is not an alcoholic?
Coming over to reducing the consumption, first of all a government would never want to reduce the consumption of alcohol as its one of the major revenue generator for them, but still if we really want to do so to reduce its ill after effects, why don’t you decrease the price of soft liquor like beer, wines and increase the price of hard liquor like scotch and whiskey. Why can’t we stop the so called ‘HAPPY HOURS’, I haven’t heard of any happy hour offer running on milk or juices.
Well, the gist of the matter is, the current booze ban in Bihar is nothing but another political move implemented in such a way that it appears to be a knight in shining armor for the people specially for the females of Bihar but actually it is not.
By Gineet Makhija,
Writer DU Times