"Supporters of prohibition say that the cost, no matter how high, is
worth the price to save families torn apart by the scourge of
alcoholism. Despite a cultural ideal that frowns on drinking,
alcoholism is a major problem at every level of society. The
consequences are particularly severe among the working classes, where
men often spend large portions of their meager daily wages on booze
while their families go without adequate food or shelter."
It should, this could have been written word for word in a newspaper somewhere in New England or Indiana or Georgia circa 1916.
India appears to be considering the same noble experiment that America undertook over 80 years ago.
Recently Prohibition was instituted in the Indian state of Haryana. In April, the state of Kerala banned the production and sale of Arrack, a traditional brew made from the sap of palm trees.
India has a population of more than a billion people and a fast growing economy. It, along with China, is one of the great export markets many wine producers in America and elsewhere are looking toward for real growth in sales.
It seems to me the unfortunate affects of alcohol abuse have to be pretty bad to consider, let alone implement, Prohibition in a state or entire country. By all accounts, the abuse of alcohol was pretty ugly in parts of the United States prior to 1919 and the installation of national prohibition here.
One tool to combat alcohol abuse that exists today that didn’t exist in 1919 is the mass media. Delivering a message and promoting a message is much more efficient today than it ever was. But even with this and other modern tools to combat societal problems, enacting a total prohibition on alcohol must be pretty tempting particularly for a politician. Leaders make names for themselves with with bold steps; by putting in place plans of action; by responding to the needs of many people.
Were more states in India to ban alcohol it’s quite clear that crime and corruption would increase. Criminals, like politicians, are adept at answering the call of a citizenry.
It will be fascinating to watch the course of events in India and to see if their experiment can take a different course than America’s.