The views of people on prohibition have always been different. A controversy has been raging for the last few centuries about the usefulness and efficacy of Prohibition. Prohibition implies banning of drinking by the Government.
Those who are opposed to prohibition have their own arguments to support their views. The lovers of wine find nothing wrong in drinking. According to them, Hindu Mythology is replete with names of gods and demons who drank Soma’ and Sura’ respectively. They further say that the Russians have been taking Vodka’ and even the English are not against drinking.
They contend that wine is used in the religious rituals of the English and that it has become a second nature with them to drink. They even go to the extent of saying that during the British rule in India drinking became a mark of gentility with the people to drink and those who did not were considered backwards in civilization.
The opponents of Prohibition argue that life is full of miseries and sorrows and that it is a ring of dejection. According to them, there is no other way to forget their worries except by drowning their sorrows in a cup of wine. Even some state governments of India of the post-independence era imposed prohibition only to withdraw it later on.
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra and Haryana had bitter experience on this issue. This speaks, according to the lovers of wine, of the uselessness of prohibition because it deprives the states of a big part of revenue coming from excise and custom of liquor.
Some argue that drinking is a personal matter and any prohibition amounts to suppressing individual liberty. Moreover, they point out, that the more prohibition exerted itself, the greater will be the popularity of drink. Illicit sale and smuggling of wine have raised its fangs in the states where prohibition was imposed.
But those who oppose prohibition do not realise the: drowning of sorrows in a cup of wine is a temporary escape from ironic; tragedies stresses and strains of life. They should not forget that habit is second nature. Habit is the first cobweb, then a cable.
We weave a thread of it every day, and at last, we cannot break it. The supporters of prohibition are of the view that revenue from custom and excise of liquor should not be earned to the moral and economic detriment of unfortunate individuals and their families.
The advocates of individual liberty should not forget that liberty is not licensed. It is not a curtailment of an individual’s liberty to prevent a man from drinking that results in the ruin of his family and very often leads to his personal physical, mental, moral and material ruin.
The evil effects of drinking are obvious. It ruins discriminate discrimination between good and evil. It switches off the control of reason and conscience, and makes one blind with passion. It engenders an irresistible craving for wine, women and wealth.
It makes a man completely imbecile, besides ruining his finances family and his family. It incapacitates the brain and imagination and breaks down a man’s morale and will-power. It overstrains the nerves, shatters the lungs and the heart, thereby bringing the person who indulges in it to premature death.
Apart from this, the habit of drinking is a great social evil too. It degenerates and perverts society. A man under the influence of liquor fails to distinguish between wife and daughter.
His judgement fails
Prohibition implies complete abstinence from wine. Gandhi. Morarji Desai and social reformers of India wanted prohibition to be enforced in the country so that the poor classes like the knights of the broom, the washermen, the cobblers, the unskilled labourers, drivers, professional soldiers and others might not ruin themselves by drinking liquor.
But the job is not that easy. It cannot be a success as long as people are illiterate and poor. The government must realise that the people are still groping in the dark. They cannot tell good from evil, right from wrong. The spread of education can alone broaden their mental horizon.
Since our education system is itself defective, it cannot be expected to deliver the good. There is strong need of awakening in the masses. Changes in the education system be brought about to suit the purpose. Healthy diversions, cultural activities and love for life are very essential before the cup of wine is snatched from the lips.
Prohibition is a social problem. The economic conditions of the people will have to be improved. Labour laws will have to be enacted to lessen the physical strain of the workers. Sources of amusement and recreation will have to be provided.
Honest administration vigilantly guarding against smuggling and illicit distillation is a must. Work and ideals of success and prosperity will have to be made available to every individual to achieve freedom from want, worry, fear and frustration. Social conscience will have to be awakened against the custom of drinking on days of festivals and other occasions of festivity.
If the above mentioned steps are taken both by the government and the Social reformers with courage and will-power and that too in right earnest, there is no reason why is reason why the people of India will not be healed of this evil of drinking.