Millennium Post

Hic hic hurray

Kerala’s 730 liquor shop owners, whose licences were on the verge of cancellation, can breathe a sigh of relief for now. Sense has finally prevailed and the Supreme Court has ordered a stay on Kerala government’s decision to make alcohol available only in five star hotels, with Sunday being a dry day. There was no logic behind the move in the first place. It is rather absurd in the first place that consumption of alcohol is considered a vice across the length and breadth of this country. Kerala of all the states has the highest liquor consumption levels, much ahead from its closest competitor, Punjab.

There is a reason behind it. Kerala’s 44 rivers, lakes and backwaters are lined with toddy shops; toddy essentially is palm wine. Agreed, that liquor consumption does give one a temporary sense of high and it has been found that people do also tend to get violent but isn’t there a flipside to this largely moral rhetoric? Isn’t a bar similar to a tea stall just that the former serves alcohol and the latter serves tea?

Liquor shops are places to hang out too and their social thread is not very different either. Think of the liquor shop owners and you would realise the malady at hand. How would the Kerala government have accommodated the out of work liquor shops owners if the ban would indeed have been put to place, is still a mystery. The perception of a liquor shop as a den of debauchery needs to change. Perhaps they should be made to watch Bengali documentary film maker, Ranjan Palit’s movie Adda and Satyajit Ray’s Agantuk which capture the myriad conversations ranging from politics to ideology over tea and coffee stalls across Calcutta for some better wisdom to flow through.
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