Friday, September 26, 2008

The need for Prohibition

Prohibition is one thing which is undoubtedly necessary but not practical. The nuisance of drinking is well known, its hazards for the family and society are also known to all but to prohibit it is not the answer.
Prohibition has been tried in India time and again ever since our Independence but it has never been successful. Instead, whenever and wherever there is prohibition, drinking starts with a greater vengeance. Even several social reformers have tried to uproot this evil but they have also been failures. Mahatma Gandhi was also against the habit of drinking and it was due to his influence that the AICC declared that, prohibition would be its main item of social reform. As a result of this attitude several ministries in several states imposed near total prohibition. Even after these five decades of effort the message is clear that, Government in 1996 – 98 also failed. It is by now, well understood that whenever an act is enacted, the first aspect we must study is that will it be possible to implement the act. When we do not possess the machinery to implement any law, it would be better not to bring the law than, pass it, and get it abused and disrespected. Besides this, a social evil can never be scrapped by laws. An evil in society has got to be dealt with by social awareness, and not by political enforcement. Let us be clear that social evils cannot be handled by political bigwigs. Social evils can only be handled if at all, by social reformers.
When the law of prohibition is enforced through the agency of law and police, people are encouraged to make illicit liquor. Liquor making becomes a house to house affair, a cottage industry of sorts, which I think is much worse than buying a bottle from a shop and then consuming it. Nothing is bad in its entirety. What is bad about this evil of drinking is an addiction to it.
An addict has got to drink no matter how and where he does it. While he can afford it, well and good but, as soon as his pocket does not afford it, he sacrifices everything else at the altar of drinking. He now starts selling his wife’s jewellery, all his belongings, just to be able to drink. His children suffer with malnutrition, they do not go to school as now, nothing can really be afforded as, the addict has his single priority of drinking and all else has got to be given up – even the necessities of life by him, his wife and children. Herein comes the real evil aspect of drinking. At this stage, the addict becomes a nuisance not only for his family but for the society at large. With several of such addicts, what will the society crumble to, can be well assessed. However, with prohibition laws having failed to deliver the goods, what can be the remedial measures is the question to be fixed uppermost in our minds.
Since prohibition has been tried off and on and invariably failed everywhere, and all the time, it is now time to look for an alternative method. I feel that, only social awareness of the people, towards the evils of addiction to drinking can make a dent on this evil.
Besides prohibition being a futile effort, it causes a great loss to the Government revenue as, now the evil goes underground and the government loses its income on the sale of liquor which turns out to be in crores. Prohibition could be useful only if its implementation was made possible but since that cannot be achieved, we can leave thinking of prohibition, and social awareness of evils of this addiction should be spread. This may possibly lead to persons leaving the evil themselves. Social reforms are best done by Social organizations and not by the laws of the government. This is because, laws force obedience and cause rebellion, while explanation of the evil will be understood and assimilated by people. It is now high time that, the government leaves tackling such issues and give this domain totally to organizations of social welfare.
Here I am sorry to add that the government of Delhi has on the other hand started selling the liquor on government run shops, so what can ve expected from the law and the law makers? Social organizations should come forth and voice their dissent, and in their effort awaken the citizens out of their slumler.

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