2nd October be dry day or alcohol free day or de-addiction day
2nd October, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday is celebrated as “dry day” or “alcohol free day” or “de-addiction day” throughout India. Has our country successfully enforced prohibition regarding such addictions till date (which in itself is a moot question); and if not, what are the loop holes in it? What arguments are there for setbacks?
Researchers have proved that 6.2 liter liquor (on an average) is consumed per year per capita throughout the world. Around 26% Indians (above 15 years) are addicted to it, out of which 10% consumption is by females whereas 40.7% is consumed by men. Additionally, around 55,000 people die every year due to drunk-driving. In a study it has been reported that 138,000 people die in road accidents every year and of the said number, 40% accidents occur due to drunk-driving.
According to Article 47 of the constitution, ‘the State shall endeavor to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health’. Certain cases of consumption of cough syrup with alcohol have been reported; and the concerned details that people consumed the aforesaid mixture when lacking liquor, is what compels us to understand the entire situation seriously. The De-addiction campaign introduced in Maharashtra by the fifth Prime Minister of India, Late Mr. Morarji Desai, was challenged on the question of “right to personal liberty”, to which Hon’ble Supreme Court (1951) in ‘The State of Bombay vs F.N. Balsara’ held that there lies no contradiction in right to personal liberty while enforcing such laws relating to prohibition. Further, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru also attempted to extend prohibition throughout India, but did not get success at larger scale. Supreme Court reinforced in a case of ‘P.N. Kaushal Vs Union of India’ that right to personal liberty does not end by setting prohibition laws. Also, the states of Gujarat, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Lakshadweep have been declared as liquor prohibited areas so far, though 20% revenue is earned by liquor selling in the gross income of the aforesaid states.
Financial aspect :-
The numerical analysis of the money earned in INR by liquor selling in various states is as follows :-
- Tamil Nadu: 21,800 crores
- Kerala: 8,000 crores
- M.P. : 5,908 crores
- Rajasthan: 5,862 crores
- Punjab: 3,947 crores
- West Bengal: 26,000 crores
Avoiding all such income, why prohibition is after all required ?
Health Aspect in a nutshell:-
Liquor intake causes adverse effects on food canal and may cause cancer. Even mental illness may occur due to imbalanced receptors in brain. Adverse impact on heart, pancreatic cancer (which may cause death), portal hypertension in blood inferior vena cava (IVC), liver-cirrhosis, badly affected lungs, thereby badly influencing respiration, extra load on kidneys, insomnia, increased weight, muscular weakness, fits (badly impacting one’s working ability), physical deformities (suspected in the children of drunkards), impotency and badly affected reproductive system are the other major side- effects of alcohol intake.
Spiritual aspect (difference between “Sura” and “Somrasa”):-
Sura is liquor and is declined by our revered saints its consumption is considered as a sin.
On the other hand, Somrasa is obtained from a creeper called Somlata that is considered good for heath and was used during Yajna in olden days. People associate sura with somrasa and consider both of those as same (thus finding an excuse & explanation to drink alcohol), which is actually not the case. At the time of manufacturing alcohol, thousands of creatures die, which is an additional sin. Hence, it is said that a drunkard can never attain salvation or self-realization.
A drunkard loses his balance of mind, followed by aggression on children and family members and further involvement into crimes like gambling, pre or post marital relationships, molestation, rape & other related offences. Additionally, drunkards are more likely to commit suicide or murder, theft, extortion, kidnapping etc, which in turn means that alcohol badly impacts our social structure and moral values.
Various countries have taken initiatives in this arena and now India is planning to encourage prohibition. It is unfortunate that prohibition in one state increases liquor smuggling exponentially in adjacent states. Somewhere around the years 1915-1925, Western countries like America, Finland, Norway, Russia and Iceland preferred prohibition. In Arab countries, liquor selling is considered as illegal. Qatar and South Arabian countries give permission for liquor selling only in hotels, though Bahrain is planning to prohibit such laws (of liquor-selling in hotels). Why are all countries becoming aware to pass such canons? Reason being, excessive drinking habits may cause various ailments, owing to which, 33 lakh people die every year.
Even after banning advertisements of liquor promotions; companies advertise their product packaged in water or soda bottles thereby alluring their customers, which leads them towards liquor consumption automatically.
In corporate culture, drinking habit has become an unavoidable necessity for customer care. Non-drinking people from rural backgrounds are thus made addicted this way by employer/employee/customers. One who does not drink is considered as backward in this culture, which creates various repercussions.
Prohibition effects/side effects:-
If prohibition is enforced, smuggling liquor, man and other mafia related offences would reach at their peak. Affluent families residing in prohibited zones can easily purchase liquor at high rates from other states, but pauper addicted to it are compelled to buy poor quality “deshi” liquor, thereby leading to instances like 257 cases of death in the year 1989 in Vadodhara or that of 157 people in Ahmadabad in the year 2009. After such incidents, Gujarat administration has made stringent laws in relation to prohibition and the punishment for manufacturing illicit liquor is increased from 10 years imprisonment to death sentence.
Other than some liquor-prohibited states, liquor selling is valid in other states. The Govt. should take necessary steps to understand its ‘multi-facets’ impacts like – after prohibition; the annual income of that state in liquor selling is less in comparison to other states. The earning made by liquor selling directly or indirectly leads to increases in the expenses on health issues as discussed earlier and thus creates imbalance in the economy. The rate of offence & crime, increase in the medical expenditure and burden on middle class and pauper class due to liquor, is what administration has not calculated seriously so far. Some NGOs had worked in this arena and certified 40 families as de-addicted ones near Udaipur area in Rajasthan, where drug mafia and others are creating nuisance for such families living with dignity.
When all provisions of laws appear to be futile and all endeavors of the government in planning prohibition strategies go in vain, then what works out is: “spirituality” and our “spiritual saints”! Self-imposed laws or samskaras are those virtues that lead a society successfully abiding by the norms set by state/nation. Self-realized saint – Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu (endearingly called as “Bapuji”), has done a lot in this stream and till date His disciples disseminate awareness campaigns of de-addiction by good propaganda, rallies, by distributing pamphlets or conducting events by Bal Samsakara Kendra (17,000+),youth awareness camps etc. and unfortunately media’s role is negligible in spreading this positive news coverage. Instead, cheap, false and baseless allegation of opium cultivation in ashram territories and bootlegging by Bapuji is what is made and spread by an elusive propaganda by the so-called “fourth pillar” of our democracy. How can an evolved soul like Bapuji cultivate opium, when He Himself quotes the lines:-
Jaam par Jaam peene se kya fayda, raat beeti, subah ko abhaagi alcohol utar jaayegi; tu hari naam ki pyaliyaan pee, teri saari zindagi sudhar jaayegi..
The gist of this poetry is that, the life of the one who drinks alcohol is ruined, while the one who absorbs himself in chanting God’s name (and drinks the nectar of pure devotion), will have his life reformed.
We commemorate Gandhiji, especially in the month of October (it being his birthday on 2nd October) by celebrating “de-addiction” day on 2nd October. Mahatma Gandhi was a “freedom fighter” and Asharam Bapuji is “freedom provider” (one who provides freedom from the birth and death cycles). During H.H. Asharam Bapuji satsang sessions, He demanded nothing but people’s vices to make them de-addicted. A saint who dedicated most of his time in serving humanity is incarcerated and till date spreading the message of Vedanta.
Let us resolve to make our India rise as spiritual leader with de-addicted man-force and pray to Almighty for sooner acquittal/bail of Bapuji, who is embroiled in a fake rape case. Only then would the dream of Father of the Nation – Mahatma Gandhi, be cherished.