Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Alcohol and Minority Rights

Everyone has habits they can't change. Everyone is addicted to something.

Is it fair to ban someone else's habits when you are free to practice your own? Yes, if somebody's habit is to beat his wife then by all means he should be stopped and punished. But what if he is a responsible drinker? What if he goes out with his friends, drinks, has a merry time, designates a driver, comes home and sleeps in peace? Why should he pay the price for the other guy?

Government used the big hammer approach in raising the age limit of buying/consuming alcohol to 25. Firstly, this won't change much.We used to buy alcohol when we were in school. Sometime when we were in actual school uniforms :P (btw, this is wrong and should be discouraged). But nobody bothers. Perhaps now they will make them shell out some more bucks for their booze, but it won't stop them for sure.
Secondly, either you say a person is legally an adult or he/she is not. The age-limits are anyways arbitrary, at least, make them consistent. I can vote but I can't marry? Can get hitched but can't watch 'A' movies? Can watch those but can't drink alcohol? It's already a very confusing age, don't confuse them further.

Having said that, I have seen villages where most men folk drink silly and beat/create nuisance for their wives/families. Perhaps a big hammer like a complete alcohol ban might be the only practical solution in such cases (Education and Women Empowerment are the long term solutions, but you need to stop the violence till that takes effect). But then what about the guy who drinks for his enjoyment and troubles no one? Agreed, he is a minority. But does that mean he doesn't have rights?
When you implement a ban, you have to be very careful. Because you are restricting the legitimate freedoms of some very responsible and good people. The ban should be time bound perhaps. Perhaps tied to some parameters like education, sex-ratio, women employment, etc.

For me, my college years wouldn't have been the same without the parties, and perhaps the parties wouldn't have been the same without the alcohol.

If this ban is ever implemented? My sympathies.