Beer bar, Liquor Shop and Aamjunta

Are yaar, chalo… yahan so jate hain,
Haan, achhi jagah hai… kyon hostel jayenge? yahan hi so jaate hain..

This was the post job treat conversation between two students. They fell from their cycle on their way to hostel from the main gate, after taking a heavy dinner and nice cock-tail in a reputed beer bar. Interestingly, we were also in the same job treat and were on our way walking to hostel too. When we saw them lying flat on the road, we could not believe our eyes. But, what to do? We put them into an auto-rickshaw and brought them to hostel. Before bringing them back, we picked and kept their cycle (badly damaged) near a tree.

This is just one among many incidents, which can be observed in our every-day life. Some times, the drunk-policeman on the road, or some time the drunk workers or rickshaw-wallah on the road, or some time the drunk officer in the office. It is observed everywhere, irrespective of place and culture.

A friend of mine went for a high profile international research workshop. He is a non-drinker and a vegetarian. Some of his course-mates who were members of faculty in different universities, teased him that he is not an “intellectual” because he doesn’t share a drink. The friend replied them in return that he doesn’t mind people drinking in front of him, even though he doesn’t drink himself. He added what had “intellectualism” to do with drinking or not drinking. The other group replied that an intellectual breaks stereotypes and societal norms by drinking. In fact, we get cool ideas and inspiration after a drink. Moreover, you may not gain entry into high profile circles if you do not share a drink — you would not be called an intellectual.

My friend was listening carefully and smiled a bit, listening to their statement. After a pause, he replied, “so an intellectual is a radical who deviates from societal norms and establishes himself as a revolutionary?” Everyone nodded. He then continued, “by drinking an intellectual gets entry into certain exclusive circles? also breaks norms“? People looked at him intently.

He continued, “precisely that is the reason why I don’t drink. Not for religious or political causes. I don’t drink because I want to break this new norm that has been established by intellectual community. By breaking tradition through drinking you are also creating new tradition of drinking. I refuse to be a part of any. My intellectualism (if that is what it means) is not to follow any tradition, and I refuse to follow ‘the intellectual tradition’. If getting drunk defines intellectualism, then I refuse to be called an intellectual.”

In an another incident, I could not believe my eyes, when I saw people making fun of a drunk bank officer in a reputed nationalized bank. Some of the customers were getting irritated and some were enjoying the free entertainment, where his colleagues were standing helpless. Finally, the branch manager had to intervene, and the officer was cordoned-off to some room in the bank. What an embarrassing scene!

If you follow newspapers or TV channels regularly, you can definitely mark/find regular news on drunken-driving, drunken-beating (wife/parents or both), feeding month’s salary (currency notes) in drunk state to Bulls/Cow or rapes/killing under the influence of heavy drinking. These kind of incidents are of course not new to us. It happens in our society, mostly in cities (villages are not far-off though). Drinking or serving drinks in parties/treats (irrespective of high/low profile parties) is not new. In fact, it is considered to be a status symbol in our society.

Beer-bars/dance bars (including ladies bars) are mushrooming, both in metros and in other cities. If the bars are just serving liquor or dance, then the harm to the society is not much. However, that does not happen in real life. Beer-bars/dance bars are becoming the hubs of all anti-social activities, starting from terrorist activities to eve-teasing, hooliganism to drug peddling, under-world activities to supari killing activities and also to violent moral policing. Does that serve the society in a healthy manner? I doubt!

Writing incidents about cities is nether sufficient nor complete to discuss these issues. Now a days, one can find many liquor shops in small cities and even in Panchayat Headquarters. You can find all brands (including deshi and videshi) of liquors there. Not only liquors, one can find other brands of Ganja/Charas there. Some of these shops are licensed while some are not. As long as they are paying haftas to the local leaders/gundas and Police, no one can stop them from doing their business. They prosper, even if they spend a lot on bribing various organizations/individuals.

On a different note. Last week, I was in Puri Swargadvara (literally Heaven’s Gate) to attend a funeral there. There is a liquor shop adjacent to the cremation ground “Swarga Dwar“. The proximity of the liquor shop to the funeral grounds was so close that one could smell the fumes of human cremation while one drank. Every one coming to the cremation ground asked one question, what is the “Foreign Liquor Shop” doing here? I too could not understand how come the shop keeper got the license there? Mostly I was thinking, “who is buying here”? at this locality? near the cremation ground!” Suddenly, two college girls (hardly in their early 20s) got down from a cycle rickshaw, went to the shop and bought 4 bottles of different brand. In no time they just vanished. After some time, couple of people came there, bought some bottles of wines and started making lewd comments on the ladies attending the funeral. I am still wondering, whether allowing to open the shop at that place is appropriate or not. It is definitely a subject for larger debate

If we (many of us, including the Govt.) understand the bad-effects of these kind of shops/bars or activities, then why do we allow these shops/bars to mushroom? This is a major problem in the south Indian cities like Chennai, Bangalore, Trivendrum, etc., where one can find liquor shops in every 20/30 meters… and that too most of the times open 24/7. Why? Is it because, the Govt. gets huge tax or revenue? or is it because these shop keepers or bar owners are influential or do we really need them? Many of us drink, some are occasional and some are regular. Some can afford, whereas many cannot; resulting in regular disturbances, fights, suicides, killings, rapes, eve teasing and stealing, etc. For some of us it is a status symbol, for some of us it is a fight between life and death, for some of us it might be a medicine…

And for the aamjunta …. let aamjunta decides what is good and what is bad; we all are independent in thinking, life style and expressing our views 🙂

Note: The incidents described are inspired from real-life stories. Neither I support drinking, nor I object. But, I am strongly against the ill-effects of drinking.

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9 Responses

  1. It is a very nice one. I wonder where is the solution ? Who is responsible for post-drink efects ? Time will point out…

  2. Well, the excess of anything is bad. So, is it with drinking. Tell people drinking is bad and there will be an increased temptation to drink. After all, man is more interested in the forbidden fruit. And that is why, drinking is seen as an act of bravery. And selling liquor amounts to revenue. No government wants to let go of that. That is why they aren’t banning smoking and drinking but just trying to keep it below the wraps. As usual, it is the economically weak community that suffers the most. You find daily wage workers squandering their money on liquor, while they should be first taking care of their family.

  3. Being from Puri, I have experienced what you have written. Though we have protested when that shop was opened, nothing happened. He happens to be a relative of a big fish. Disgusting.

  4. Well, its a nice article on drinking. When it comes to decide what is good or what is bad, its upto the individual and how he effects the environment after drinking. Because, personally, in a vector space of drinking juntas, I like somebody and dont like some for their behaviour after drinking. As long as drinking is limited and nobody gets affected except the person who drinks (by reaching some holy state :P), drinking is not bad.

  5. one needs to have very revolutionary and appealing ideas to make public quit drinking habits…indeed there is no nation left undrunk! [:P] If drinking continues to be declared as status-symbol , any awareness measure wont make much of a impact! But on the other hand, the growing popularity of yoga and art of living like stuffs may combat these issues some day!

  6. it seems the UK government, has issued strict directives for those creating a ruckus after some extra drinks. they have gone to the extent of saying that they would ban the people who would indulge in such activity repeatedly!!’
    I hope the Indian government takes cues from it, though it seems logistically impossible!!

  7. You reminded me of those cocktail parties at 5 star hotel in chennai. Remember when booze is free it’s very difficult to contain oneself. And we get to know real drinker from a non-drinker too….
    When those intellectuals are drinking and the lesser ones are watching…. the situation is very similar as it is between people playing colours on holi and those not playing it. Those who are already colored would think that why a fellow from the other side is not colored so far .. (s)he is lesser mortal.. (s)he could not find anybody who could apply color on her/him.. while vice versa is thought by the person who has not played color on the Holi day.. Both are correct in their own sense.. 🙂

  8. another nice article from aamjunta…it reminds me of one my friend while studying…there are couple of points has been raised here…one of them is addiction and the other one is corruption…and the implications are huge on society…

  9. A moderate drink in a cold climate is perhaps enjoyable, pleasant…

    However, in my opinion there should be two limitations –

    1. Bars and Liquor shops should be absolutely banned in the present society of India, where socio-economic patterns are rapidly changing without being monitored or some negative effects due to it are unleashed without being adequately checked !!

    2. No matter whichever form, we should never have any ‘fermented’ type drink in excess or regularly, as it harms the body, especially liver !!! This can be a ‘videsi’ (foreign) liquor or our ‘desi’ (country) one or simply ‘pakhalla’ ! 🙂

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