Father I do not drink for my life,’ ‘Wine is poison’ and ‘To drink wine is to call death any foreigner from the Western countries shall be surprised to see these posters on the walls of this country. There was a time in our country when on the roads of the cities people under the influence of the liquor used to walk freely on the road and create nuisance but due to prohibition policy there has been a vast change. Many State Governments have adopted the policy of complete prohibition at many places.
Intoxication in India
The system of intoxication is not new in India. It is prevalent here since ancient times. In Literature and Art, we find the examples of intoxication. It is also said that ‘Som Rus’ had also the intoxicating effect. In medieval ages, the liquor was a common thing. The great Mughal Emperor, Jehangir was very fond of wines. During the British era the system of taking wine was in predominant stage. Officer class used to take it as the symbol of civilization. In free India, the prohibition is included in the funda mental principles of the State policy but however we have not been able to take revolutionary action in this direction except enforcing prohibition in certain areas few years back.
Not only in India but in most of the foreign countries, intoxication is a common affair. Thousands of the liquor bottles are opened daily. Not only the wines but also the different types on intoxicating pills are common in U. S. A., England. West Germany. and France, the countries where wine is so popular that nobody thinks that it is a bad habit. Taking wine has become a system and part of the daily routine.
Evils of taking wine
It is true that wine is popular in many countries of the world but it cannot be denied that intoxication has its own evil effects. Taking wine is bad both as individually and socially. In India, thousands of families have been ruined due to the habit of taking liquor. Great Empires fell to the dust only due to this habit. In our country, we find liquor common in those families which are poor. These poor persons do not pay attention towards their children and remain in intoxication. The poor country like India cannot afford the luxury of taking costly drinks. In our village. life, we find that families after families have been the sufferer of wine. Most of the accidents in our cities are under the influence of the liquor.
Steps taken for the prohibition
What ever might be the fee ling about wine in the Western countries, but it is true that this system is a blot on our country. Even in the medieval ages, there had beed rulers who always condemned the habit of taking wine. In British period too saintly element of the public always took it as a bad habit. Mahatma Gandhi was deadly against taking wine and he tried to build the public opinion of prohibition. He said, “If I am appointed dictator of this country for an hour only, I shall close all the liquor shops without compensation.”
Prohibition was adopted as one of the fundamental principles of our State policy in our constitution. First of all, State Government of Gujarat and Bombay declared the complete prohibition. However, this policy could not bring the required results and from time to time, the Government had to change its policy regarding prohibition. After the 6th general elections when Janta Party came into power and Morarji Bhai became the Prime Minister, it was felt that Morarji Bhai would not yield before the pressure of anti prohibition and definitely follow the policy of prohibition. The Prime Minister, though severely criticized by his opponents and even the men of his own party, declared that whatever may be the consequences, prohibition shall be enforced in the entire country within few years. Now, after fall of the Janta Party Government in the Centre, there is complete prohibition in some regions of the country. In certain other regions, prohibition shall be enforced, this has been declared, by some of the Chief Ministers of different States.
Points in favour of the complete prohibition
There has been divergent views about the complete prohibition in this country. Majority of women folk in our country are in favour of complete prohibition. Those who have full faith in the principles of Gandhiji shall definitely welcome the complete prohibition in the country. They haild the declaration of Morarji Bhai. Different religious and social institutions also feel that until and unless there is complete prohibition, the system of taking liquor shall not go from our coun try. Liquor is harmful not only for the health of the people but it has become a social evil.
Criticism of the prohibition policy ?
Morarji Bhai declared that there shall be complete prohibition in the country after few years and different State Governments took up steps in this direction. Many intellectuals said that it is a direct infringement on the fundamental rights and liberties. Mr. Piloo Modi, one of the strong sup porter of Morarji Bhai said that it is against the principles of liberty. Certain critics said that Government policy of prohibition was impartial. Government would loose a huge amount from excise and people would definitely drink in disguise.
Is prohibition practical ?
Here, question arises that can there be complete prohibition in our country ? I am of the opinion that Governments policy of prohibition during the last few years have been a complete failure. Anti social elements are taking full advantage of complete prohibition declared in certain areas. We can get the liquor at a higher price even in these regions. Government is suffering a huge a loss from excise duty. The people are drinking freely. Our police has been complete unsuccessful in this direction. The law is not the only remedy laws are flouted here and there. Prohibition can be in our country only if we have a strong public opinion against it. The social institution must came forward to make the villagers feel that intoxication is bad. There shall be checks and restrictions for officers class and all of us should make consolidated efforts and teach the illiterate and poor masses of our country the bad effects of intoxication.
This cannot be denied that prohibition is good but the way it has been enforced, is not welcomed by most of the persons. We should have a practical policy for prohibition. The prices of liquor should be very high. The duty should be increased and social institutions should make all out efforts so that a practical prohibition policy is enforced in the country.