A front page item in today’s Times of India caught my attention today. It said that there will be 7 dry days in October, in the our state of Maharashtra. A dry day for those of you who have no clue about it, is a government declared day where all liquor establishments, be it shops selling liquor and hotels/bars are forced to shut shop.
This tradition of declaring dry days stems from archaic laws and prehistoric mentality that associates law and order problems with consumption of liquor. In fact I do not think that there has been any empirical proof collected so far that indicates that imposition of dry days did help in maintaining law and order. Except for those subsisting of consuming liquor only from their daily wages, all the others stock up in advance and it is a well known fact that if you want to have liquor there will be places to do that, dry day or not. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Coming back to the 7 dry days that have been declared in the month of October, I thought of analyzing each of them and seeing if it makes any sense whatsoever. So here we go:
- October 2 : Gandhi Jayanti: Gandhi’s views about alcohol are known to all. In fact in his mother state of Gujarat, prohibition still exists. But we are living in a different world now and we all know how much our lawmakers themselves give a damn about Gandhian principles. Making his birthdate as a dry day is further proof of a shameless symbolic gesture while at the same time taking cover under the great man himself. And speaking of Gujarat, the constant illicit liquor deaths are ample proof of a myopic administration that claims to be Gandhian in morals. It was once famously said by Will Rogers that “Prohibition is better than no liquor at all”. Enough said.
- October 8: End of Prohibition Week: Frankly I did not understand this at all. I have no clue about what this means and I suspect neither does the author of the news article since he has not bothered to explain it. So we will leave this as is.
- October 11, 12, 13 : Run up to the polls and Election Day: It continues to amaze me what liquor has to do with the run up to the polls and the election day. In fact I would declare them free booze days so that the all the wrong elements in society and that includes the candidates standing in the elections, get so drunk that they cannot make it to the booth on the polling day. And what better sight than to see a politician doing last minute canvasing for the polls in an inebriated state. “Hic! Hic! Vote for me … Burrrpppp”. As Richard Sheridan quotes “A bumper of good liquor will end a contest quicker than judge, justice, etc” and I second that.
- October 22 : Counting Day: This one takes the cake. I am sure the lawmakers were surely drunk while declaring this as a dry day. They seem to be really confident that the people who are responsible for counting/declaring the results are going to drink themselves to a frenzy and then go to do their job of tallying the votes. But wait a minute. Don’t we have vote polling machines that do the counting themselves and not the humans. Yes I think so. But it seems to me that the lawmakers suspect that the officials will rig the polling machines by pouring liquor into them and making them drunk. In any case, we can be assure ourselves that the winning candidate and his pack of rats will be celebrating the night with what else but liquor.
- October 29 : Ashadi Ekadashi: Wow! Now we are treading on religious ground here and we better be careful with what we say. If I say something against it, I will be branded as a non-believer and a treacherous human by the moral high-ground purists. In any case, speak I must. Declaring such days as dry days is another classic example of how confused a society we are. Those who believe in the significance of that day are believers whether they drink liquor or not. And it is the hypocrites that will associate liquor with all the sins in the world. And speaking of sins and religion, every religion in one way or the other teaches its believers not to commit sins, so that they can go to heaven. Fair enough and if that is indeed the essence of declaring this religious day as a dry day, then I quote Bruce Aidell who said “When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we go to heaven. Soooo, let’s all get drunk and go to heaven!”.
And with that my analysis ends. Our German friends must surely be laughing at us and will taunt us with remarks like “See, we told you that if it is October, you better be at the OcktoberFest and not in Maharashtra”.