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From 50 Years Ago (20 May 2006)

seem to be disinclined to fly in the face of of prohibition than other countries because of FROM 50 YEARS AGO hard realities or create more complications in the widespread public sentiment in favour of the process. To this section, the drive against it, he was nevertheless concerned over the drinks is not just a ritual of legislation to be methods to be adopted, inasmuch as

seem to be disinclined to fly in the face ofof prohibition than other countries because of

FROM 50 YEARS AGO

hard realities or create more complications inthe widespread public sentiment in favour ofthe process. To this section, the drive againstit, he was nevertheless concerned over the drinks is not just a ritual of legislation to bemethods to be adopted, inasmuch as ‘somegone through in the name of Congress ideo-times they might fail to achieve their purposelogy nor a fetish. Neither is it an end in itself,and lead to other dangers.’ He added, “A lawbut rather a means to the end of educatingwhich goes half way, to begin with, and isVol VIII, No 20, May 19, 1956 people out of the craving for drinks and div-effective is perhaps better as a step than a law

erting their interest from it, so that their con-which is supposed to go the whole way andDream and Reality formity with law may be voluntary and realis rather ineffective”. (Weekly Notes) and not just technical, as may often bethecaseThat represents one aspect of the problem;

in ‘prohibited’ areas. Again, with this schoolanother and an equally important one was

The conflict between idealism and realism of thought, prohibition is only one of thehighlighted recently by the Chief Minister ofwould seem to be nowhere more glaring thanmany measures of national reform that couldMadras, Shri Kamaraj Nadar, though not soin the Congress attitude to prohibition. On onebe usefully thought of, but not pursued untilmuch by speech as by action. In deciding toside, there are those who would have prohi-its advantages are carefully weighed againstrelax prohibition in the Nilgiris in order tobition at any cost, irrespective of the otherother, and may be more urgent, national needs.attract tourists, Shri Nadar was bowing to thefactors involved and regardless even of con-While those belonging to the first school ofeconomic factor which is generally brushedsiderations of practicability or success. Tothought have always been vocal, those be-aside by ardent votaries of prohibition untilthese it would seem to matter little if in tryinglonging to the second have understandablythe sheer compulsion of events leaves themto cure one evil more evils arise in its place.enough been rather silent. Indeed, it is onlywith no option but to change their attitude.Prohibition is a creed with them; and havingtheir action or lack of action in the sphere ofIn the process, however, the extreme sanctityconvinced themselves of its soundness, theychecking the drink habit that would seem tothat is apt to be attached to prohibition inhave no qualm in forcing it on others, pre-provide a clue to their way of thinking. Butcertain quarters, and the place of supremacysumably on the ground that the latter maythat does not apply to our outspoken Primethat is given to it among contending nationaloften know not what is good for them.Minister, Pandit Nehru, who recently gavedemands of no less importance, lay them-

The other school of thought on the questioneffective expression to his realistic views onselves open to scepticism. But would a touchhas perhaps no less faith in the advisability ofthe subject. While declaring that India wasof scepticism be bad in the stupor of thoughtpromoting sobriety in the nation; but it would much more favourably situated for a policy that prevails in various quarters?

Economic and Political Weekly May 20, 2006

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