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Can Drinking Be Prohibited?
by Swaraj Mohanty

Liquor Tycoon Vijay Mallaya gave the slogan of “Drink and enjoy life”. The comment has been a prime issue of controversy since it was quoted in many newspapers and magazines. It was also disapproved by a large chunk of the so called “civil society”. It gave a clear indication that even in present times, in the so called high prolific life there are some voices which are against drinking liquor or alcohol. A glass of liquor has been termed as a glass of poison accompanied by rash choler, ill-temperament, anger and other vices. In short, it is a perfect fuel for destroying life. In this context a big question is put in front of the people that, “Can drinking be prohibited?”

Before going into its prohibition, let’s peep into its history. It is not that liquor originated in recent years. We can assess its origin from its very existence in Vedas under the name of ‘somras’. We have read about the kings and emperors who were drunkards. It clearly indicates that drinking was an ancient practice.

Everything is fine within a certain limit. And so is drinking alcohol. In western and other polar countries drinking is part and parcel of life. In tropical countries it is not necessary because people take beverages. However, for the sake of amusement it can be taken in limited doses. In fact it has been playing a major role in recreation. Celebrities are seen enjoying themselves with mugs of beer in pubs. Not only the high classes but also the middle and lower classes enjoy two-three pegs of liquor. What differs is the brand. Even the military people like a peg or two in order to adjust to the tough schedules. Almost all classes of the society enjoy liquor in their own fashion. Players are seen celebrating their victory by spewing champagne over each other. All together, drinking has been prevailing in almost all sections of the society and among all classes of people.

Now-a-days drinking has become a malady which is very deep rooted indeed. The civilians are worst affected by the consumption of liquor. Especially the younger generation is attracted towards it easily. Consumption of liquor is a curse in disguise. For momentary pleasure people spoil their entire life. It’s clear from the statistics that over sixty thousand people alone from India get affected by lung cancer at an age of forty. Near about fifty thousand people meet their ends due to the diseases caused by liquor. Wine became the cause of destruction of youth, family, married life etc. Incidents like wife-beating and murders are increasing with time. It is difficult to digest the fact that couples who promise to live together in front of the elements of earth break their ties for the sake of liquor? Their hard earned money goes in vain. When a youth dies prematurely his work for the country remains undone. When a father drinks in front of his child, he indirectly instigates him to drink. His child starts to drink at an early stage and finally passes away resulting in a loss to the country as well as the society. Not only does liquor cause diseases in the long run, some kinds of denatured alcohol can cause instant death when taken by mistake. For example, recently more than fifty people in Ganjam district of Orissa lost their lives due to consumption of spurious liquor.

Under this context it is a challengeable job in front of the government to stop the consumption of liquor. Now the question arises, can we put a full stop to drinking by merely requesting people not to drink or enforcing a ban on it? It is clear that today’s generation is fast. Children at a very tender age start understanding sensitive things. They are well aware of the uses and abuses of consumption of liquor but still the use of liquor is widespread. We cannot prohibit a particular individual from doing something wrong, knowing about its ill effects. Can we prohibit murder, robbery, extortion etc? So is the case with drinking. If the government puts a ban on drinking then the younger generation will be more inquisitive about it. They would like to know the reason behind this. In fact this might lead to more advertisement of liquor and the rate of consumption might increase. For example, the government has put a ban on the advertisement of liquor. How far has it been successful? Aren’t new brands coming up? Have the advertisements stopped? Are those in the liquor trade facing losses? The answer is no. In fact due to this prohibition more illegal works are going on. As the famous Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt rightly said, that no one can stop him from drinking unless and until he realizes himself. If drinking is prohibited in public places people will start drinking at home resulting in family disturbances.

The government has to think about an alternative to reduce the publicity of liquor. The consumption can be discouraged by meetings, programs and campaigns rather than prohibition. The consequences of drinking should be displayed to common people by electronic and print media. Last but not the least public awareness and the help of the common people is essential to eliminate this curse to the society so that earth can become a better place to live in.  

30-Jun-2006
 
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