Liquor, in the past months has acquired serious political dimensions. It began with the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government imposing a complete ban on liquor in Bihar, a move that he hopes to propagate into a progressive movement and one that he hopes advances his political career too.
Nitish, often pegged as a potential prime minister, has so far made calls for a ban on liquor in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. However, there is good reason why he may need to expand his horizons.
Not too far from Bihar, BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh is reeling under a peculiar problem of its own. Reports say that tribal people in Madhya Pradesh are moving from country liquor to beer, a habit that is acquiring violent proportions, with tribals even ready to fight and kill for it.
This incident is an apt example of this progression from country liquor to beer and how it has caught the peoples’ fancy. According to a report in The Times of India, Vestiya, a 35-year-old man from Sorva village in the tribal belt of Alirajpur, shot his friend with an arrow for not inviting him for a beer party.
Data points to a similar trend as well. According to the state excise department data, the consumption of beer in Madhya Pradesh’s tribal belts of Alirajpur and Jhabua is higher than that of the cash-rich Indore.
Vinod Raghuvanshi, deputy commissioner (excise) said that there has been a major shift from country liquors ‘mahua’ and ‘taddi’ to beer.
The report further stated that the tribal in Jhabua and Ali have moved from local drinks to liquor because ‘it does not give them the kick’. So, they prepare a cocktail of whiskey and beer.
On the other hand, tribal women drink beer in a different manner – they drink it from their palms.