The Indian Liquor Industry Prohibition Story
PROHIBITION IN INDIA Cont..
To counter these
allegations, the government quoted the findings of a survey report made by the
Chandigarh-based Institute of Development and Communications. Interviewing
6,000 people in six districts, the study concluded that 58% of the alcoholics
had kicked the habit following prohibition. The study claimed that liquor
consumption in Haryana had come down by 67% .
The fact that prohibition did not seem to have completely succeeded in any
state strengthened the beliefs of prohibition's critics that it was practically
impossible to implement prohibition. Analysts claimed that politicians had used
prohibition only as a means to garner popularity and votes.
The efficacy of prohibition to curb alcohol
consumption became questionable when it became known that the availability
of alcohol actually increased in Haryana and AP after prohibition, albeit
at higher prices. The experiences with prohibition all over the world
prove that it is extremely difficult to make it a success. These
experiments with prohibition raised some important questions: was it
possible to police the morals of society? Since alcohol consumption was an
inseparable part of human life, could it be controlled?
Critics claim that prohibition led to nothing but an increase in organized
crime, illicit distillation, deaths from spurious liquor, and widespread
defiance of the law. Prohibiting liquor consumption simply created
networks of smugglers and home brewers who encouraged people to drink even
more than when alcohol was legal. Also, any prohibition exercise
invariably ends up depriving those drinkers who do not form the section of
society most troubled by alcohol related problems.
The poor people continued to get their supply of
country-made liquor while the middle and upper class people were unable to get
IMFL. This negated the very purpose of prohibition as the poor continued to be
affected by alcoholism. According to analysts, "In most Indian rural households,
the man typically controlled the family's entire purse. And in far too many
rural families, men divert scarce cash to liquor, depriving their womenfolk and
children of money, of better food, education, or anything else. Many sink into
debt, dragging their families down with them. So prohibition is not just a
morality-versus-liberty issue, it also a civil rights issue for women and
Sociologists claim that it is impossible to make anyone stop drinking alcohol,
especially by force. Until and unless a person is willing to give up alcohol, he
would find means to obtain alcoholic drink. This explains why after the
imposition of prohibition, the business quickly passed on to illegal operators.
This is further substantiated by the fact that the US liquor business shifted
back to the corporate sector gradually after prohibition was lifted.
Supporters of prohibition however said that all these arguments did not hold
good. They felt that prohibition was justified in the light of the plight of
millions of families suffering the evils of alcoholism. Analysts reported that
domestic violence in Haryana and Andhra Pradesh (drunk men reportedly beating
their wives) had declined significantly after prohibition. The supporters of
prohibition were of the view that liquor was freely available and consumed by
many in dry states only because of regulatory and policing lapses.
A PROBLEM UNSOLVABLE
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
EXHIBIT I THE INDIAN LIQUOR MARKET
ADDITIONAL READINGS & REFERENCES:
 An interesting side effect of
the imposition of prohibition in Haryana was the fact that many poor families
were able to earn money through illegal liquor trading. According to reports,
after one year of prohibition, many families in villages near Haryana had built
houses and the consumption of food, clothes, transistors, wristwatches etc. in
the area had gone up.
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