In ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai‘, Munna Bhai and Circuit want to be famous for following Gandhi’s ideals and they are dreaming of roads and holidays in their names, but they don’t want a Dry Day in their name. Later, the ease with which Munna Bhai gives up drinking for the girl he loved, can only happen in Bollywood movies. In real life it’s not possible to give up addictions so easily.
I had not given Gandhi and Alcoholism much thought until I saw a maid servant’s swollen face. There’s a law that makes this battering a crime, but no law prevents her husband from getting criminally sozzled. In today’s India, buying liquor is easy – just up to walk to the neighborhood vendor/bar/shop/haath batti.
He is not just ruining his own health (which is his own business), not just abusing his family, (does not provide for them, beats them etc.) but he is also a criminal or criminal-in-the-making, he would do anything illegal or legal to get his daily dose. Once drunk he is a threat to civilized society. But no law prevents him from getting drunk.
Alcohol addiction is as bad, and as ruinous as drug addiction: This guy’s days begin when he wakes up around 11 am, and starts looking for money for the next dose, he eats little, remains unhappy and snappy, his children may go to bed hungry, but he really is beyond all help. Once he stole somebody’s brass knocker to buy daru and was caught and beaten. He and thousands more like him, would sell anything that can be sold, in some cases this includes their girl-children. Most of the time the children are taken out of school and sent to work, often far away from home. He has to have his daily dose. We have seen Bollywood villains selling their long suffering wives’ mangalsutra to buy desi liquor – much worse happens in real life.
Gandhi traveled all over the interiors of India and made the same discovery many years ago, but today, even a movie based on his teachings does not seem to realise the seriousness of alcohol abuse.
This violent, abusive, even dangerous man is ill and needs help. He should be next on Ramadoss’s agenda.