[Answered] Given the current trends in alcohol consumption, the early temperance lessons along with our struggle against an imperial state remain relevant today. Comment. Also bring in the light, the factors behind increasing alcohol consumption in India.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Write some contemporary relevance of early temperance lessons. Also write some factors behind increasing alcohol consumption in India.

Conclusion: Write a way forward.

According to National Family Health Survey, alcohol consumption among both men and women is higher in rural India than in urban India, the. Overall, 1% of women aged 15 and over drink alcohol, compared to 19% of men in the same age group. Alcohol consumption is more common among Scheduled Tribes than from any other caste/tribe groups. It is linked with multimorbidity, lower life expectancy, mental impairment, and loss of productivity.

Contemporary relevance of early temperance lessons:

  • The temperance movement that began in the 1880s, especially among the lower castes and tribes of India, became an integral part of progressive reforms to address poverty, untouchability, domestic violence, illiteracy, etc.
  • Gandhi’s objection to the state having a role in the production and distribution of alcohol.
  • Moreover, Gandhi understood that without wide-spread self-regulation by individuals, prohibition would devolve into corrupting attempts at enforcement.
  • C Rajagopalachari also said that the presence cultural tendency for abstinence in India would make prohibition less corruptible, relative to other countries.
  • The temperance movement, by leveraging these cultural norms, would prepare the ground for more effective state interventions.

Factors behind increasing alcohol consumption in India:

  • Older cultural-religious norms that encouraged abstinence have weakened.
  • More people are earning sufficient incometo purchase it. This has outpaced the efforts to reduce consumption.
  • Increased urbanisationand an expanding middle class are also contributors.
  • Social pressuresare a major contributor to the high prevalence of alcohol consumption in India. Many social activities are centred on alcohol and the drink being perceived as a ‘social lubricant’.
  • Political dependence on the revenuegenerated by the industry- especially among the states. This was evidenced by how states decided to reopen liquor shops despite a fast-growing pandemic to improve their revenues.
  • Aggressive marketingby the alcohol industry.
  • Low awarenessabout the negative impacts of alcohol on health.
  • Sustained messaging about the ‘attractions of alcohol consumption’ via moviesand other TV programs.

Way forward:

  • Reducing alcoholism cannot be achieved using a sudden blanket ban across the country. It needs to be brought in by phases.
  • Political willis a key component in reducing the harmful use of alcohol.
  • The policies designed for the purpose must be tailor made for local circumstances. It should be comprehensiveand inclusive with clarity in division of responsibilities.


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