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November 17, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm


The complex relationship between society, politics, and alcohol consumption in India reflects an intricate web of values, beliefs, and economic considerations. This article delves into the inherent contradictions and hypocrisies surrounding India’s approach to alcohol, emphasizing the need for a transparent and open dialogue to address the challenges associated with its consumption.

Ambivalent Attitude:

  • Record-breaking alcohol sales during Diwali prompt reflection on societal attitudes.
  • Indian public policy exhibits ambivalence, oscillating between acceptance and concern regarding alcohol consumption.

Medical and Societal Perspectives:

  • Usage of the term “alcohol use or abuse” implies an acceptable threshold before it becomes harmful.
  • Medical professionals historically endorsed moderate alcohol use, creating a societal acceptance.
  • Societal definition of abuse often revolves around externalities and disturbances caused to others.

Gender Dynamics and Social Protests:

  • Alcohol-related social protests, primarily led by women, highlight gender dynamics.
  • Hypocrisy evident as societal tolerance varies based on economic status, caste, and regional factors.

Religious and Cultural Dimensions:

  • Alcohol viewed through religious lenses with varied interpretations across different faiths.
  • Cultural practices demonstrate a dual stance, allowing private consumption but condemning public display.

Shifting WHO Policies:

  • WHO’s shift from “some alcohol is good” to “no alcohol is good” reflects evolving global perspectives.
  • India aligns with the Constitution’s Directive Principles, aiming for a 10% reduction in alcohol use.

Political and Economic Influences:

  • Current political approaches prioritize revenue generation over health concerns.
  • Examples from states like Haryana, Delhi, and Kerala showcase a tension between prohibition and revenue needs.
  • Bureaucratic measures, such as “dry days” and inconsistent policies, further complicate the issue.

Weak Enforcement of Public Health Measures:

  • Public health strategies mimic tobacco control, focusing on limiting access, taxation, marketing bans, and awareness.
  • Weak enforcement, especially in advertising bans, highlights a lack of political will to address violations.


The article underscores the urgent need for open, non-judgmental discussions to navigate the complexities surrounding alcohol in Indian society. By challenging false dichotomies, exploring the role of religion, and reconciling health concerns with revenue generation, India can move towards a more rational and transparent national alcohol policy. Until these contradictions are openly confronted, the elusive goal of a comprehensive and pragmatic alcohol policy will remain distant, perpetuating the existing societal hypocrisy.

Mains Question:

  1. India’s approach to alcohol consumption reflects a complex interplay of societal attitudes, political considerations, and economic influences. Analyse the contradictions and hypocrisies inherent in India’s stance on alcohol, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive and transparent national alcohol policy. How can a balance be achieved between health concerns and revenue generation, considering the diverse cultural, religious, and economic dimensions at play? (150 Words)


November 17, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category:
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