PROHIBITION IN INDIA
Prohibition means banning the manufacture, distribution sale and consumption of intoxicating drinks. All religious books and great men have condemned drinking.
Drinking is a great social evil. It consumes the physical, mental, and the moral energies of man and shortens human life. It has ruined many promising careers, wrecked many happy homes and impoverished many rich and prosperous families. It is a cause of crimes. Under the influence of drink, people have committed adultery and such other hineous crimes as the murder of their own wives and children. The use of liquor makes a man forget all decency. He starts abusing and misbehaving even towards his elders. Drinking makes a man lazy and it spoils his health. It does not solve the problem of a drunkard, but creates more problems for the individual and the society. A drunkard ignores the welfare of his family. Drinking destroys the peace of family life. A habitual drunkard may become an alcoholic beyond any remedy.
In India, the majority of the people who consume intoxicating drinks, belong to the poor and working sections of the community. Since they can’t afford to have sophisticated drinks like brandy or whisky, they take indigenous drinks. The use of these illicit drinks has caused many deaths in India. A poor worker hardly earns enough money to feed his family properly. If he starts spending on drinks, his family will definitely starve. The use of illicit drinks kills a man slowly. Liquor also reduces the efficiency of workers and it arrests the production in mills and factories. When a poor man spends his income on liquor, nothing is left to be spent on the food and education of the children. This results in illiteracy and criminals way of life.
Drinking causes a number of incurable disease affecting the liver, kidney, lungs, stomach and brain. A drunkard is more prone to sex. It has resulted in large-scale prostitution and an increase in the number of children especially among the poor sections of the society. AIDS, the killer disease becomes companion of people who engage in prostitution. Incidents of gang rapes under the effect of drinks have increased recently. Drinking is a part of slum culture now. Slowly it leads to drug addiction. The use of wine and drugs has resulted in thefts, pick-pocketing, smuggling, murders, and suicides.
Gandhiji said,” If were appointed dictator for one hour for all India, the first thing I would do would be close with compensation all the liquor shops”. Gandhiji strongly wanted to introduce prohibition in India. He believed that prohibition was essential to safeguard and protect the lives of poor labourers and workers. How can we get rid of this problem? The best solution is to prohibit legally the making, importing and drinking of intoxicating liquors. But there are certain possible objections to prohibition. It is argued that prohibition need not be made applicable to moderate drinkers. It is also argued that prohibition has been tried in America and England and it has failed miserably. Moreover, some economists argue that prohibition brings about a great loss of revenue.
Today the Government of India has come forward with the policy of prohibition. States like Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhrapradesh, and Hariyana have banned arrack. The public also support prohibition. The Indian sentiment has looked upon drink as a vice and crime. Prohibition ensures better living conditions and greater amenities for the people. It has a clear constructive value and it is a nation-building activity. Let us hope for a day when prohibition is introduced all over India.