Friday, October 3, 2008

No, not a Dry Day...

In 'Lage Raho Munnabhai', Munna Bhai and Circuit want to be famous for following Gandhi's ideals and they are dreaming of roads and holidays in their names, but they don't want a Dry Day in their name. Later, the ease with which Munna Bhai gives up drinking for the girl he loved, can only happen in Bollywood movies. In real life it's not possible to give up addictions so easily.

I had not given Gandhi and Alcoholism much thought until I saw a maid servant's swollen face. There's a law that makes this battering a crime, but no law prevents her husband from getting criminally sozzled. In today's India, buying liquor is easy - just up to walk to the neighborhood vendor/bar/shop/haath batti.
He is not just ruining his own health (which is his own business), not just abusing his family, (does not provide for them, beats them etc.) but he is also a criminal or criminal-in-the-making, he would do anything illegal or legal to get his daily dose. Once drunk he is a threat to civilized society. But no law prevents him from getting drunk.
Alcohol addiction is as bad, and as ruinous as drug addiction: This guy's days begin when he wakes up around 11 am, and starts looking for money for the next dose, he eats little, remains unhappy and snappy, his children may go to bed hungry, but he really is beyond all help. Once he stole somebody's brass knocker to buy daru and was caught and beaten. He and thousands more like him, would sell anything that can be sold, in some cases this includes their girl-children. Most of the time the children are taken out of school and sent to work, often far away from home. He has to have his daily dose. We have seen Bollywood villains selling their long suffering wives' mangalsutra to buy desi liquor - much worse happens in real life.

Gandhi traveled all over the interiors of India and made the same discovery many years ago, but today, even a movie based on his teachings does not seem to realise the seriousness of alcohol abuse.

This violent, abusive, even dangerous man is ill and needs help. He should be next on Ramadoss's agenda.


Monika,Ansh said...

I agree. But I do not think that hvaing a law to prevent will solve the issue. It needs a change of mindset. I have no answers as usual but maybe a drive like the current one for "safe sex to prevent aids" could surely make a difference.

Pinku said...

You are so right I too had noticed the song in which that bit about dry day happens.

But you know what a dry day or even ten of them wont help matters. Two things might.

Like Monika says greater awareness and maybe a big hike in prices coupled with limited access. that would help. atleast amongst the lowe sections of society where drinking is coupled with wife beatings a lot.

Chirag said...

Again Agree with you here the attitudes need to change, towards drunkards and alcohol both I mean. This guy, he should be in rehabilitation center I am sure there are places for these guys, and for what does she have to get beaten up when she's earning and taking care of the kids, tell/teach her to stand up. IHM, I will reserve my comments on Gandhi, but Gandhi or no Gandhi, this is wrong. Come to think of it jail is also an option?

Aneela Z said...

yes..DEFINITELY hike the price of liqour..or particular brands that are 'favs'...I wish the guys who sell booze could show some civic sense and be 'selective' about how much liquour they sell and to whom...but well coming from a country that is 'officialy' dry we have discovered that if there is a will well the spirit and the spirits are in Australia they are actually tackling 'social attitutes/acceptance of' that groom young children to take to drinking in later years..this as alcoholism is rising amongst teens... and well on a sep note, why is Ramadoss so quiet as drinking appears more and more attractive on the silver in point Rock On..the face of 'urbane India' chilling with a glass of know what I mean?

~Hemanth~ said...

The ideas presented are good but, they have certain prerequisites. The first one would be to make political parties stop using arrack/cheap liquor as a bribe during election times. No political party member, relative (distant or not) and friend of the above member will be given a permit to operate any liquor store. Then, raise the price and strictly come down on the illegal alcohol operations. Then go in for awareness programs and rehab centers.

And IHM, ask your maid to take a big fat wooden pole and hit the husband on the head about 10-15times and keep doing it everytime he gets drunk; that oughtta set the asshole straight.

D said...

I know what you're talking about. Alcoholism has been the bane of so mnay families. And the problem is prevalent not just in economically weaker sections of society. Haven't we all seen people make a fool out of themselve by crossing tehir limits in the name of social drinking? But the efficay of laws in our country is highly debatable. We just need greater restrain and awareness.

roop said...


Rohini said...

+1! Ramadoss can definitely look at another ban! However, unless the mindset of people changes, nothing can prevent it. I know a person who very openly declared that he will NOT quit or reduce smoking whenever and wherever he wants and he doesn't care if he has to pay fines or whatever. If alcohol prices are hiked, there can be so many other means to get hold of money and buy liquor. What if the guy indebts hmiself completely and makes his family's life worse? I think unless the mindset changes, nothing is gonna happen... Its sad to feel this way but I guess that's how it is...

Monika said...

its the attitude and nothing else... ban on alcohol has not worked anywhere... bombay.. gujrat... haryana... it makes the people wanting them more evil..

Anonymous said...

Legislating every weakness or addiction does not help - its the implementation and creation of social awareness that helps. We have to work towards it

Mavin said...

Any addiction is a result of weakness of the mind leading to disease both of mind and body.

The first step towards rehab is the realisationin the affected person about the problem and his desire to break that addiction. Without that small spark it is impossible to wean away any person from his/her addiction.

Serious addcitions also create social problems like the ones mentioned by you in your post.

There have been amazing cases of rehab and it is not very difficult once the process begins. Support from society and family should help make the person go through this.

A wide spread social movement is the need of the hour. I am sure that many people would come forward to support this.

PG said...

I think this is a similar situation to the smoking problem here as far as the political aspects are concerned, but which is much much much more common than alcoholism in India . Even here they keep saying how does a ban on advertisement and smoking in public will help. Germany seems to be the worst countries in the world when it comes to laws and regulations regarding smoking.
But, I am WITH YOU 100% with this.
I hate it when people keep putting the blame on the attitude alone in such matters. How can you expect a poor, jobless, illiterate, under nourished, alcohol addict to be responsible. Go on and keep expecting , but then why have jails, just wait for all criminals to become responsible. Keep waiting!
Rules are very important just like a government is important. And they do have an impact on their habits. They do. Don't you all read statistics. Are you all such pessimists! I'm sure not. Every bit of improvement is important.

I don't mean to offend anybody please, but I just do get so frightened to hear such attitides towards it.
Good to see another post remembering Gandhi.

Mampi said...

My daughter often wonders why the government allows people to drink at all?
any answers in her language?

Indyana said...

When we lived in Mumbai,in a supposedly very posh part of the city, we had a daru adda bang in a chawl next to our buiding!What happened was that the very law keepers and preventers of crime,the police, would themselves turn up for a drink ,to be taken along with their hafta money! It was horrible to see the brawls that started in the adda,much before these drunk men(drivers, labourers etc) headed to their homes!No amount of complaining helped! Some of our bai's narrated heart breaking stories of the torment they underwent with the sozzled husbands ,and some even lost them to afflictions arising from liver failure etc!I think educating the men about the pitfalls, and making anti-addiction centres available for men trying to get out of this may help!

my space said...

I agree that it is a serious addiction and has wide social implications too...and attitude needs to be worked at.. But what do u expect from an illetrate,poor person? A blanket ban works to a great extent..Yes, where there is a will there is a way and some might suceed too but at least a majority woud be least it will be really tough for this strata of people to get hold of liquor easily. But then, Addiction, wife beating is not specific to any one strata of the society..

Anonymous said...

I am sure those drunkards wills top beating thier wife,if the lady showed some courage to beat him back atleast a day when he comes to beat her,with a iron rod..The next day,he would think twice before beating her..Men think they can do anything,just bcoz they happen to be physically more fit..If they get beaten back for every stoke they give to wife,men would not beat her..

If women are afraid to beat husband,due to physical weakness,they can 'treat' darling drunkard husband with some tea mixed with dishwasher so that in course of time he'll associate alchohol with loose motion and stop it.

Sue said...


Mystic Margarita said...

Hey where did my comment go? Here i go again - obviously awareness level needs to be increased about the ills and health repurcussions of alcohol addiction among the addicts and their family members - and if possible free rehab centers should be made availale to those who want to stay off the bottle but are too addicted to do it by themselves.

Nimmy said...

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Destination Infinity said...

Think about this - If you are already addicted to a bad habit, it is very hard to get out of it. There are two levels of tackling this problem - First the youth. People start taking alcohol when they are quite young. It is these people that must be targetted and made to leave the addiction, before it becomes too late. Law or rules or what ever might help that would be most welcome. The second is the cheap liquor. The problem here is, most of the state governments openly acknowledge that selling liquor is one of their chief sources of revenue. So, there is a lot of economic dependence by a huge section of the population. This dependence has to be diverted to other vocations. Easier said than done. But even a small contribution by individuals like us could collectively make a big difference.

Destination Infinity

Anonymous said...

Hmm..where is my last comment..grrrrrrrrrrrrr ;)

IHM,you have been tagged my great Nimmy..pls visit my blog..

Vinod_Sharma said...

Prohibition has been tried with disastrous results in many states. The answer is in educating people about the dangers of addiction to alcohol. Mavin has given very well thought out suggestions.

I also feel that as the levels of education improve, such problems will reduce. Unfortunately, there has been little emphasis on providing quality education to all. The 'right to education' that has recently been legislated remains on paper only.

Anonymous said...

pathetic :(

Anonymous said...

btw, you really think the smoking ban is going to be that effective?! Don't know the skeptic in me says it is just a way for the policemen to make more money!

Indian Home Maker said...

@Monika,Ansh - Yes I totally agree that a drive like the current one about AIDS is needed.

@Pinku - I agree about creating awareness. And no more new liquor manufacturing licenses should be given...but this will, not be enough.

@Chirag- Don't you think alcoholism has thrived, unlike drugs because we don't take serious measures against it? What if it was treated like drugs? But then drugs to are available to those who want them. Maybe awareness is a better option.

@Aneela Z Ramadoss knows he will lose votes if he speaks against liquor:(
Awareness campaigns and a ban on any misleading advertising that makes men look macho if they drink is a good idea. If Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan and our cricketers speak against liquor and not sing Kingfisher songs.

@Hemanth //1.)No political party member, relative (distant or not) and friend of the above member be given a permit to operate any liquor store.
2.)Then, raise the price and
3.) strictly come down on the illegal alcohol operations.
4.)Then go in for awareness programs and rehab centers.// Fully agree.
The first point with NGOs and courts support, will work wonders.

And also agree with, //make political parties stop using arrack/cheap liquor as a bribe during elections// This is so disgusting...election commission needs to be more powerful.

Should serious addicts have the right to vote?

@D Greater awareness by the most influential, cricketers and Bollywood stars, even TV and regional stars. Yes.

@Roop Yes, very sad.

@Monika So awareness is the key word, again.

@Phoenixritu Yes, I guess you are right. But we see no anti-alcohol caimpaign at all :(

@Mavin So a wide spread social movement, combined with rehab centers, and support groups for the families...yes I feel that should work.
Why is nobody(government) even talking about this problem?

@PG See Hemanth's comment above, he has suggested practical ways to bring some legislation. Rehab is an urgent requirement too.
I liked Gandhi's approach towards non violence, courage, honesty, communalism, religion, women's education, and quite a Gandhi fan :)

@Mampi Let me try: "Government makes many mistakes, Rasan, it fears that if they ban liquor, then all the men who love liquor will refuse to vote for them!"

@Indyana Oh yes, the police has it's haftas, and they drink themselves! Even on duty! Agree, we need more rehabs.

@my space A blanket ban will be unacceptable to social drinkers and a huge amount of voters:(
Attitudes and awareness need to be worked at.
The acceptability should should be something only the un-cool are caught dead doing.


manju said...


Laws are certainly needed but I think the mindset of society has to be changed too. Society should ostracize people who drink.

The last post on my blog is on this same subject! Do take a look.

Indian Home Maker said...

@Nimi LOL @ dishwater dose :)
But I agree even an alcoholic will not beat his wife if he feared she will/could give him back.

@Sue Thanks, hope to spend this week doing many long overdue tags :)

@Mystic Margarita The mantra being: Awareness campaigns, rehab and support for family.

@Destination Infinity I totally agree, the campaign should aim at the youth.
Just the thought of the governments making money by ruining people's health, happiness and lives...and what is this money spent on? You are so right, they do need to find alternate sources of revenue!!!!!!

@Vinod Sharma ...still will prohibition not help the young who find easy availability very tempting?
Or at the least, can we not make stricter punishments for alcohol related crimes, like Drunk-driving, drunken brawls, and make being found inebriated in public places a crime? At worse, let them bribe their way out of custody but at least take away the convenience of sleeping sozzled on open roadsides when one has had enough to drink; harassing women because one was too sozzled to know what one was doing and robbing passers by?
I am dead against the government trying to tell people how to live their lives, but prohibition is more about public safety. Just a thought.

@my head trip I am not sure it will work, but it will give passive smokers the authority to challenge a smoker in public places. I feel they have a right to clean air...though the same logic should also apply to fire crackers on Diwali. I have seen children with asthma going through hell with all the pollution our festive fun creates.

@greatNimmy Give me a moment :))

Indian Home Maker said...

@manju You are right, alcohol should not be seen as a normal part of festivities and parties - there is nothing glamorous about being tulli :)

Vinod_Sharma said...

IHM, I can understand your agitation; drunkards ruin not only themselves but their families. But more and more controls are not going to help eradicate this problem. Prohibition was tried in many states...people took to buying deadly country liquor made and sold illegally, and many died. So the battle has not be against drinking but for drinking responsibly.

As to your question about tougher laws...see, commonsense suggests that we should have them for the crimes you have mentioned. But when it comes to a tough law against terror, the logic is totally forgotten. I have written about it repeatedly in my blog. You may check out on post, in particular "Stiff law for drunken drivers, not terrorists".

Law is fine. But the only way to ensure an abiding solution is education. When that is made available,like it is for people like us who are no different from the ones we are talking about, not just drinking, many other social ills will be cured. As an added advantage, the country will be rid of many politicians who are in business only because their voters are still in the 19th century.

Vinod_Sharma said...

Here is the link for that post on tough law for drunken driving

Aaarti said...

hi IHM, this is a topic i've been pondering about for sometime.. and hve come to a conclusion that people will do things only if they have the heart, or make uop their mind to!!

right from wearing helmet while driving
condom during sex
not drinking
stop smoking...

In chn, the rule of helmet/seatbelt was imposed.. but a lot of schmucks dont adhere to it, merely bcos they wont follow any rule.. little do they realise its for their own good.. they are such morons!! makes me mad!!!

Indian Home Maker said...

@Aaarti Yes I agree, what we need is a serious drive to create awareness against alcohol abuse. And all the support and rehab.

Angie Atkinson said...

Wow, I had no idea this was such an issue in India. It makes me physically ill that someone wouldn't take care of their children, much less beat and sell them. This seems insane to me, and I feel for the women living in these situations. Thanks for opening my eyes.

Indian Home Maker said...

@Angie Atkinson Alcoholism is an issue in India, so is beating of children and wives, more common in the economically poorer sections, but not unheard of in the middle class. Selling of children is not common, but does happen.

Anonymous said...

Well this post hit home and I had to comment. My dad is an alcoholic..what started off as social driniking, coupled with a gambling addiction is a full blown disease. He's been in and out of rehab several times and going by his and other people's experiences it is extremely difficult to come out of it. I'm not saying its impossible but most people suffer relapses. And we have as "care-givers" been given counselling as well and we are asked to treat the condition like diabetes, it cannot be wished away or treated and can only be controlled. And it is extremely difficult to have a level head and look at it from that perspective as its a mental disease and not physical. When a diabetic refuses to stick to a diet you end up feeling sorry at one level, you can empathise. But when an alcoholic refuses to give up the alcohol, you only want to bang his head.
I am rambling! I must do a post on this. But I guess what I must say is that its impossible to have a law and implement a law of such a nature. Its impossible for a family to regulate the behaviour of an alcoholic and implement what the rehab suggests. Having a law would really be meaningless. We'd much rather be strengthening womens rights to enable women to get out of abusive relationships.
Ack! I have so much more to say...guess I will take it to my blog!

Indian Home Maker said...

@gooddaysunshine I am sorry to hear about your dad. It must have been difficult for you.I agree with you that alcoholism is a disease, that does often starts with social drinking.
I think awareness and rehab is the best option, and yes enough support for women to enable them to get out of such relationships.
I hope you do write this post on your blog.