Thursday, May 07, 2020

In low spirits over the sale of liquor

I keep telling myself not to write long posts where I do little more than grouse and grumble over a bunch of things that bug the hell out of me. Something (my blog history) tells me I do that a lot, and whiny monkey is not the best of looks for me. And yet, despite trying to keep my itching fingers away from the keyboard for two whole days, it was inevitable that I caved. How in the name of all things holy and unholy did the government make the unbelievable decision to open liquor store outlets across the length and breadth of the country while the rest of the country languishes in this thrice damned lockdown? How? How? How? Also Why? Why? Why? And WTF?

According to some statistics I dredged up from the internet (which may or may not be 100% accurate) alcohol claims 2,60,000 lives every year, 29 people die every hour from excessive boozing and 712 people die every day as a direct result of swilling alcohol. Even if you stink at mathematical calculations and processing numerical data like yours truly it is still painfully obvious that Corona has nothing on these figures. And yet, the government in its infinite wisdom decides that is imperative that the good citizens be allowed to drink themselves to death and spread the damn virus which has us all in a vise – like grip with the numbers spiking every single day and the curve stubbornly refusing to flatten. Thank you very much, so – called representatives of the people, for the people and by the people!

Of course, if you take a look at the income generated by liquor sales for the government it become crystal clear. The internet was most obliging when it came to providing me with further stats for this post. Studies done in 2018, reveal that the government earns around Rs. 3.10 lakh crore from the sale of alcohol with the 29 states and union territories averaging sales worth Rs. 15,000 crores per month. So big bucks wins over paltry things like safety, ethics and doing the right thing. Every single time.
It is disgusting and all the memes flooding the internet over this god-awful situation doesn’t make it any less awful. With sales being broken and records being set over people’s alacrity in getting their hands on their favourite poison, I am cynical about the shutters coming down anytime soon. Or the booze – hounds and govt. giving a crap about the social – distancing norms that are supposed to be enforced. Sigh!

Perhaps the idea is to encourage people to stay sozzled and clueless about exactly how clueless those who run this country are. I mean they still haven’t made up their minds about whether the migrant workers should be allowed to go home or not, since the economy needs to be kick-started and business men/industrialists chaffing at the bit to begin normal operations cannot be denied much longer. What about the alarming increase in reported instances of physical, emotional, and domestic abuse directed against women, children and the elderly? Allowing these animals access to alcohol is certain to exacerbate the problem. And no, sharing pics of the women who lined up to buy liquor to shame and troll them across social media platforms does little more than draw attention to the rampant sexism ingrained in so many that leads to shameful #boislockerroom situations. Blame the bad habit not the gender of those who indulge in said habit.

I have nothing against people who enjoy the occasional tipple. To each their own.  But having studied addiction in all its terrifying glory all I can say is that it is not a laughing matter when so many make the decision to spend their life in an alcoholic haze, planning their every move to ensure the next fix, endangering the lives of near ones by giving in to violent tendencies because it is easy to blame the booze, driving under the influence knowing that the law enforcers don’t care until innocent people are actually killed and sometimes not even then, blowing up their life’s savings on drink and driving their families to miserable penury until they mercifully drop dead due to alcohol related complications. And no… putting up those irritating disclaimers in every single movie that hits the screens asserting that alcohol drinking is injurious to health and risks life and limb is just not going to cut it when the government remains committed to endangering the lives of its citizens by feeding their addiction in exchange for beaucoup bucks.

As responsible citizens, it is time we put our foot down and stopped patronizing the business interests of those who couldn’t care less about the collective well-being of this great nation and her people. Rather than splurge on booze, perhaps tipplers could use the money to buy meals for the less fortunate. Or swear off intoxicants altogether. That ought to show em!

Check out this article carried by Zee Media Bureau on the economics and statistics of liquor sales that prompted the govt. to encourage its citizens to turn to drink. 


Unknown said...

Interesting article..The ladies in my village including my relatives near Trichy are so happy with the closure of liquor shops as part of lockdown. The husbands and fathers are sane and healthy. They have stopped their practice of disrupting the families with their violent behaviour.

For your information(in case you dont know already) when US introduced prohibition, the government lost its principal revenue.. Thats when they started introducing Income Tax..

so it is a complicated issue. India needs to find its own balance between revenue, morality and freedom to drink.. trial and error is the only way.

R. Viswanathan...

Anuja Chandramouli said...

Hi Viswanathan,
So many are victims especially among the poorer folks who are victims of domestic abuse and worse, brought on by violence triggered by booze. In face, my maid's son used to beat her up while still in his teens and steal her savings to buy liquor. It is so tragic and it sucks that the govt. cares more about making money than doing something to help addicts and their families.

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