I watched the entire episode of Aamir Khan's TV show on alcoholism - and I am firm in my opinion that it is nothing but a "whirlpool of lies."
Note that "Satyamev Jayate" is the slogan of our The State - and I often tell the young that State Education ought to come with the following Statutory Warning:
Inculcating these ideas will destroy your intellect!
And your moral character as well!
And your moral character as well!
During the very long-drawn out programme, full of "tear-jerker" melodrama that Bollywood specialises in, Aamir interviewed: 1) A boozard-journo; 2) an Alcoholics Anonymous "cured" type; 3) two shrinks; 4) the poet-or-whatever Javed Akhtar 5) villagers from Punjab; 5) A father on a kid who died in a road accident related to alcohol consumption.
1. The Boozard-Journo: This guy confessed that the bartenders at the Delhi Press Club would keep six shots for him after closing time. Well, I visited this club just once - it was about noon, so I had a beer or two, while everyone around was on to hard liquor. And as for my journo-host, I often reprimanded him and his tribe for not campaigning for such places for ordinary people to SIT and DRINK. These simply do not exist in Delhi. The average tippler in this Capital City must quaff his 180ml of hard liquor in a trice, in some dark corner, lest the cops catch him. Drinking hard liquor so fast in injurious to the health.
The guy also confessed to taking money from politicians and cops for writing stories - and it was my clear observation, while with the Economic Times for five long years, that "political correspondents" were destroying their minds, while "economic and business correspondents" were learning much. Mental destruction and consequent corruption - these cause alcoholism. There results a "hole in the soul."
Anyway, the opening scene in this guy's story was a photo of him on a footpath. Well, what's wrong with that? We have so many poor migrants flocking to our cities that I would say we need more and more footpaths, and very wide ones, too, for them to sleep, maybe to drink, and perchance to dream after that. When I spent some weeks on a footpath in Pondicherry, in the company of a saintly sadhu. it was quite blissful - and I even wrote a post on my bliss. Do note that the sadhu and I drank (a little) only because we could not get the Holy Herb. Neither of us were were ever "drunk and disorderly." And the good firemen opposite - well, they were always helpful as well as respectful. There is also this excellent "literary account" of my horrible experiences there - especially with cops and my interfering "police agent" of a mother as well, that you ought to read.
2. The Alcoholics Anonymous "cured" type: Well, AA was established in the USSA in 1935 - after 15 years of alcohol Prohibition had resulted in "mass alcoholism" only because "bootleggers" preferred to sell hard stuff. No beer or wine was ever sold in any "speakeasy." We are encouraging AA in India by making our people hard drinkers. Aamir never spoke a word about either beer or wine. And do read his column on what he "thinks" of alcohol.
3. The Shrinks: Much medical nonsense from both - but all I want to say is that "man is a creature of habit." We cultivate habits - good as well as bad - and these make our lives what they are. Also, we all possess a "cybernetic loop" that informs us of how our bodies react to anything we ingest - so, a "hangover" will tell you something, and it is up to you to listen to that or not. Shrinks do a 5-year MBBS, after which they undergo a 2-year MD in Psychiatry. Their standard textbook is James Coleman's Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life, which contains a chapter titled "Alcoholism and Drug Abuse" that is well worth including in your teenage kid's reading-list, lest he learn the wrong things, and pick up the wrong habits. Anyway, this chapter reveals that ganja-charas are The Best! Boom Shankar!
4. Javed Akhtar: Well, more moronic Bollywood blah. His wife, Shabana Azmi, the actress of yesteryears who engages in "politicking," is a communist, and while she was an MP I invited her to pen a column on rent control for The Economic Times - and she refused! Mumbai is an urban hell-hole only because of this anti-property legislation. Just as slums overrun Mumbai because of this, so do "ghettoes" exist in New York. Another city, Paris, has also been brought down by rent control. Which reminds me to pen a future column on this subject.
5. Punjab villagers: They were women who wanted booze shops in their villages closed down by the State - but they ought to be correcting their men! Aamir seemed to be suggesting that such State legislation enabling the administration to close down booze shops on public demand ought to be replicated nationwide! Has he ever been to Goa?
6. Father of kid who died in a road accident related to alcohol consumption: Well, 1000+ people die on our unsafe streets, roads and highways EVERY SINGLE DAY - and most of these are pedestrians and cyclists! Aamir campaigned for MORE POWER to the cops to deter "drunk driving." He even said driving after a drink or two ought to treated on the same scale as murder! This is but "demagoguery" - like Advani, as Home Minister, saying rape ought to be equated with murder. Justice must be "minute" - which is why the British Indian Penal Code treats "simple hurt" differently from "grievous hurt." There are also many "degrees of murder." Thus, if rape was treated as murder, every rapist would have the immediate legal incentive to murder his victim - because his chances of getting away would increase, while the punishment would remain the same. Torts are the only answer to all these matters - from traffic accidents to rape to murder, even - which is something I wrote about in a previous post against another Aamir Khan show. The "criminal justice system" does not work - and torts are but matters of "civil law." The victim is financially compensated. This is the deterrent. And this promotes a "caring society" in which even the slightly tipsy will be VERY CAUTIOUS behind the well.
Now, another hard fact is that alcohol is among the most unfree businesses in India - from manufacturing to retailing to even "public consumption" as, for example, on a beach, a promenade, or a public park. Save Goa, thank heavens, which is not India.
Goans make wine, distil feni and urak - inside their homes, that is - and they have quite a few excellent local brews as well, all of which are unavailable in the rest of India.
Because booze is part of their "culture."
I saw an "East meets West" postcard in Goa once that showed a typical Goan gent in his suit and tie, polished black shoes, a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other - and on the other side a while man wearing just a loincloth, chappals at his feet, smoking a chillum!
ALCOHOL & CULTURE:
In Europe, they have a word for "Cheers!" in every single language - Prost! Skol! and so on.
In India, we do not have any such word in any major language!
Though we have hundreds of salutations to Shiva for lighting chillums!
Now, in Europe, they have these pubs everywhere, very old ones, too, and most people drink wine or beer. These are far older than strong distillates - because the process of distillation was discovered only about 1000 years ago. Wine and beer are "healthy." Which is why when Europeans drink, they raise toasts, "To your health."
In India, we sell Indian Made Foreign Liquor - mainly distillates.
But we do have old Indian healthy light alcoholic drinks - like toddy and handia. Toddy-tappers are actually persecuted today - by evil legislation. Yet, packaged toddy is far healthier than soft drinks and fruit juices, which contain too much sugar.
Thus, legislation on alcohol and "drugs" is actually DAMAGING PUBLIC HEALTH!
Aamir Khan's sponsors are: Aquaguard, Reliance, Airtel - and he promoted Alcoholics Anonymous as well as one of those De-Addiction Centres (Nasha Mukti Kendras) that are the inevitable consequence of State Control on All Highs, including alcohol.
So, I recommend my The Intelligent Pleasure-Seeker's Guide to Getting High.