I don't know whether anybody's interested in this topic, and I don't even necessarily know any more about it than (some) other people on this forum, but my parents have brought it up at least twice, so I thought I'd post about it. (By the way, today is September 7 for me, and September 7 is Onam
, i.e. the day of the traditional Malayalee harvest festival. Happy Onam!
The government of Kerala
is attempting to completely prohibit alcohol in Kerala. IIRC, it has already closed down several palm wine/toddy shops. I have seen at least a few sources claim that Kerala has the highest alcohol consumption rate in India (at 11 liters per capita, according to this
I see a few potential problems with what the local government is trying to do here:
1. Five-star hotels are still allowed to serve alcohol. That just seems hypocritical to me.
2. When has prohibition ever actually worked
? Even in Muslim countries where alcohol is prohibited on religious grounds, people (at least Malayalee migrants there) seem to drink a lot as soon as they get the opportunity.
3. I wonder whether there is a deeper issue that this fails to address. Consumption of alcohol has already long been stigmatized in Malayalee society, so I don't see what prohibition is going to add here. A toddy shop is not the same thing as a bar in the Western world. My understanding is that you don't go to a toddy shop to hang out with friends; you go to a toddy shop because you are really miserable, perhaps even suicidal, and are attempting to drown your sorrows in alcohol. Several years ago, the teenage alcoholism rate was climbing in Kerala, and (again, IIRC) alcoholic teenagers are especially likely to commit suicide. Is the issue here really the alcohol itself, or could it be the high expectations that people (especially poorer people) in Kerala are generally held to?