Monday, 3 September 2018

Essay on Prohibition on Drinking alcohol

Essay on Prohibition on Drinking alcohol

Essay on Prohibition on Drinking alcohol
"Drinking is a curse. A nation, addicted to drinking has its future completely doomed. A Government which fattens its purse by selling alcoholic drinks to its people makes prostitution of its sacred function of its people morally better and spiritually elevated. A nation of drunkards is a morally and spiritually dwarfed section of society." - Gandhi ji 

Prohibition is a lovely word and lovely sentiment as long as we know what we are prohibiting and why we are prohibiting it. The economics text-book puts the matter more succinctly by saying that it is permissible only when it keeps to moral law and is a financial feasibility. Indeed, drinking has all along been the worst misfortune that has ever befallen mankind. It has been a damned curse which is responsible for the utter ruin of many a nation. The great Roman Empire, the mighty Mughal Empire and many others had been cast into oblivion of sheer degeneration under the destructive and damaging impact of drinking. In almost all the religions of the world—Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism; drinking has been condemned as a sin. According to Islam, a drunkard has no place in Paradise and that his place would be in the worst part of Hell, where he would be cast a fire of torture. He can never expect to be forgiven by God.

Now let us recall a brief history of drinking. It is thought that during the Asoka period of Indian history, indulgence in drinks and drugs was considered to be a crime, something contrary to the principles of religion, i.e., Buddhism. According to Magsthenese who visited India during the reign of Chandra Gupta Maurya, the Government strictly supervised the manufacture and sale of intoxicating drinks. Most of the Muslim rulers in India had put strict restrictions on sale of intoxicating wines even though they themselves lavishly indulged in drinking. 

It was, however, during the days of the East India Company that India's cultural and national progress suffered a heavy loss. The alien rulers in their anxiety, to find more money from India to fill their own country's coffee, introduced liquor-revenue and revenue on exploit drugs. Since the Britishers came to India there has been an unending chain of public spirited propaganda for prohibition. All the Indian reformers, whether social or religious, condemned drinking in unequivocal terms. Renowned personalities like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Keshab Chandra Sen, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Annie Besant, Tagore, and Swami Shraddhanand condemned the evil of drinking and accused the British Government of committing a public sin. 

Prohibition implies 'banning of alcoholic drinks'. It was first introduced in America in 1923 but due to certain unavoidable reasons it failed completely. The Indian National Congress, even before India's independence had made it one of their basic features of program to launch a country-wide campaign for prohibiting intoxicating drinks. Satyagrahas were offered for the same purpose and our leaders had to court imprisonment for picketing wine shops during the British regime. Immediately after independence when the Congress formed Government at the Centre and in all the states excepting Punjab and Bengal, prohibition was experimented and in most of the states it did have a substantial success. At All India Congress session of 1953, it was unanimously resolved that in some states there should be complete prohibition. Accordingly prohibition was introduced throughout the Bombay Presidency and Prohibition Committee; three more States were to be declared as completely dry areas.

 In India, the story of prohibition, properly speaking, begins with Mahatma Gandhi's campaign against this injurious habit. Gandhi ji regarded it as one of the courses that demoralized the world, because it had brought the downfall of many a mighty empire. However, prohibition through legislation was introduced in India after the countries attaining independence. Today, with the exception of West Bengal and Assam, all the states in India have prohibition, partial as well as complete. 

Total prohibition is a ridiculous thing and if where is not going to be total prohibition, what kind is there going to be? Who are going to be the lucky exceptions? The medical profession?  Hospitals? This is no way to go about the matter. Boot-legging follows naturally when there are exception. The story of A America looms ominously whenever one thinks of prohibition. More liquor was drunk during prohibition days in America than in the 'wet period'. Thousands of people who otherwise would have entered respectable professions, joined the thriving boot legging trade in the hope of across some fast money, "Wet joints" sprung up like mushrooms across the length and breadth of the United States. The pity was greater, because so many innocent people were lured to taste the forbidden drink. The adage stands before us now as it did in the past."The best way of making a man succumb to a temptation is to prohibit it as evil." This adage does not always work out correctly, but in the case of prohibition it seems to click. 

Prohibition creates certain difficult problems. The first problem is unemployment. In Andhra, Bengal and Assam there are lakhs of people engaged in the production of 'Tari, a kind of intoxicating drink. In the event of introducing complete prohibition in these states, all these men would be thrown out of their source of earning livelihood. Then, there is the toughest problem to check illicit manufacture and sale of intoxicating drink. The report of the All India Prohibition Committee revealed the fact that in most of the 'dry areas' there have been floods of illicit wine. In the city like Bombay, alone, illicit wine of the value of about one crone rupees a year is being consumed. It is a pity and a matter of discharge, too, to note that police and excise officials and their staff deputed to make the scheme a success, most miserably abused, rather prostituted their basic function, thereby making prohibition an utter failure in some states.

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