ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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How Does One Deal with Drink?

Indian society needs to have a different relationship with liquor; neither prohibition nor free sale is an answer.

The Government of Kerala has announced its decision to move towards a ban on the sale of alcohol. Whatever the motivation – factional struggles within the Congress Party or a desire to arrest a fall in the ruling coalition’s popularity – it is an occasion to revisit the difficult and interrelated issues of drink, alcoholism, domestic violence, prohibition and the fiscal dependence of state governments on alcohol sales.

The consumption of alcohol, particularly when it becomes an addiction, is a bane for many Indian families. The violence it often leads to, the financial ruin it begets and the ruin of the alcoholic’s health are well known. While these maladies afflict people across class, caste, religion and region, some of the greatest damage is to be found among the poor. Among the poor who drink, money which could have been spent on food, housing and children’s education, is often spent on alcohol. Women and children in homes where the male drinks excessively regularly bear violence and sexual assault from husbands/fathers. Even in middle class and well-off families, alcohol is often the proximate cause of violence and other troubles.

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