For a single second I dared to think that the people of India were brought together in a battle against a virus that can be fought by only one means: TOGETHER.
When I heard the banging plates and clapping hands on one day and saw the entire building lit with oil lamps flickering in the wind the other, I thought, "Maybe the meaning of the word "unity" does exist in this ruthless modern world..." Then I saw videos of people in Italy playing music from their balconies and clinking glasses tied to a rod and saying "CHEERS!" out loud, I thought it would stir something in all of us; and it did! Until May 4, 2020.
On this day, we saw the country united in a single front. They were all ready to fight the virus to fulfill their mission. Do you have any idea what their mission was??
To lick the liquor stores clean
Yes folks, you can read that again, it won't change. In Lock-down 3.0 implemented in our country till the 17th of May, 2020, the Indian government realised it was running short of money.
Now, what is the quickest way to refill the government treasury without letting people out for too long? Pull up all the shutters of alcohol and liquor shops!
That is a decision which is both smart and rash at the same time. Keeping the annual income of Centre with respect to the sale of alcohol in light, I call this smart. According to a Reserve Bank of India report, in the financial year 2018-19, the government made a whooping 1,50,658 crores via the sale of alcohol. These sky-rocketing numbers aimed yet higher the next year and the government made 1,75,501 crores, again, by the sale of alcohol alone.
So when the shutters of liquor shops were pulled up in Uttar Pradesh, people spilled out of their homes like boiled milk out of the pot and rushed to the shops. The scene was absolutely horrendous and fatal.
According to Excise Department officials, the sale of liquor in state capital Lucknow was recorded at Rs 6.3 crore on Monday, the first day of the start of the third phase of the lockdown that ends on May 17.
The shops in Rajasthan were open for mere two hours. That was all the time required to earn 9 crores. Coming to the lovable state of Uttar Pradesh, 300 crores were earned in total.
Inspite of the 70% Corona tax implemented by Mr. Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi, alcohol's enslavement brought people flocking to the shops. It was as though they were compensating for their previous 40 non-alcoholic days!
There were rules. I repeat. THERE WERE RULES. A person will not be allowed to purchase more than one bottle (750 ml), or two halves (375 ml each), or three quarters (180 ml each), or two bottles of beer or three cans. But tell me something, dear readers, how many rules are followed in this country of ours?? Here's the fun fact: PEOPLE FROM OTHER COUNTRIES ARE FASCINATED BY THE OPENNESS AND THE UNWRITTEN NO-RULES POLICY OF OUR COUNTRY. FANCY THAT!
And then comes the drunken violence! It was absolutely horrifying to watch people gulp down alcohol as if "the alcohol drought" is just a day away. Once they were done filling themselves with the vile liquids, they began beating up people around them, and in some cases, the drunkards began attacking the women of their own house! And here's the reason for being rash.
This just gets better and better. If one was to see the length of the queues in front of liqour shops, they were to think that all these people have been waiting since 6 in the morning to collect food provided by the government. Move a little closer and get ready for the shock of your life. Hundreds of men were queued in front of a liqour shop with the term "social-distancing" trashed on the ground, and only a few metres away was a food distribution truck. Only a handful of people were there for PROPER FOOD. They all know how expensive alcohol is at the very moment. They might have to pay the price with their LIFE. But nothing stops a man in need of alcohol, isn't it?
All these auto rickshaw drivers, shop-keepers, fruit-sellers, cab-drivers and all other workers can stay happily alive for weeks on alcohol alone, I believe. This is all these people have ever seen. Raising a family is a mere duty and money is all that matters. When things go bad for them, they drown themselves in their sorrows and quite literally in alcohol. Hope is a four-letter word, make that money watch it burn. That is how they sustain.
India is DRUNK right now. You remember that 70% of the Indian population drowning in poverty? Well, they are all drenched in alcohol right now.
Now, tell me, people, although we understand that the government is need of money, is this decision really good for the citizens of this country or for the war against the virus itself?
It's not the oxygen stores on lock-down, for heaven's sake! How vital can alcohol be? More vital than our lives?? I hope not.