Skip to main content

Dire consequences in Tamil Nadu over 'refusal to heed' Rajaji's advice on prohibition

By NS Venkataraman* 

C Rajagopalachari (popularly known as Rajaji) was recognised in his time as one amongst the most enlightened intellectuals in India. Apart from being a freedom fighter, Rajaji excelled in several other areas and was a great writer, speaking and writing on variety of subjects including world peace and disarmament, need to promote free enterprises, moral and ethical value in public life, religions and so on.
Rajaji was born on December 10th December, 1878 and passed away on December 25th 1972 and lived for 93 years.
On Rajaji’s recent birth day on 10th December, 2022, the day largely passed off without the people in India or the people in Tamil Nadu to which state Rajaji belongs, celebrating his birthday, recognising his contribution to the progress of the country and his achievements.
Of course, Tamil Nadu Governor paid tributes to Rajaji n th Raj Bhavan and a few state ministers garlanded his statue elsewhere. This event was not even reported in most section of the media. This is unlike the way that the nation observes the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhai Patel. Former President Dr Radhakrishnan’s birthday is celebrated as teacher’s day every year.
In this scenario, non-observance of Rajaji’s birth anniversary on 10th December, 2022 adequately to remember his contribution is conspicuous and unfortunate.
Mahatma Gandhi hailed Rajaji as his conscience keeper, which is the ultimate tribute for Rajaji’s sense of honesty and courage of conviction. Later , Gandhiji declared that Rajaji was his successor. He further told that “Rajaji sees at least six months ahead of him”.
There are several instances that revealed Rajaji’s capability to think beyond his time and make his views clear and providing advice to the existing governments. Unfortunately, a number of his valid suggestions were not accepted by those in power at that time and the value of some of his suggestions were realized much later and implemented.

Rajaji’s view on prohibition

Amongst many of Rajaji’s suggestions of far reaching importance, let us take only one, namely his call for implementing total prohibition in Tamil Nadu.
On a rainy Tuesday evening on July 20, 1971, Rajaji, in his ripe age, met the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Karunanidhi at his residence and pleaded against lifting prohibition, which Rajaji believed would hurt future generations adversely. It was reported that Rajaji, the former Governor General of India, was made to wait for some time for the meeting which took place for 20 minutes .
It is reported that more than 50% of men folk in Tamil Nadu have succumbed to liquor habit
Sadly, this advice was not accepted by the then Chief Minister Karunanidhi and his government, which lifted prohibition. The adverse consequences of such decision are seen today in Tamil Nadu.
During the last six decades after the lifting of prohibition by the then DMK government, the liquor habit amongst the people of Tamil Nadu have increased by leaps and bounds. It is reported that more than 50% of men folk in Tamil Nadu have succumbed to liquor habit and even youth and students in the teen age have started taking liquor. What is alarming is that even women are now slowly falling to the liquor habit. It was really shocking to hear the recent news that school going girl students joined together and consumed beer in public.
With widespread liquor habit steadily developing in Tamil Nadu, the social fabric of the state have been uprooted and life of women, in whose family menfolk have taken to liquor habit, have become hell like. Women are being beaten, harassed and left without earnings of the menfolk, who spend their earnings on liquor. Many believe that in such condition, Tamil Nadu will be moving towards socially unstable state with value system in life going for a toss.
Rajaji anticipated all these problems and pleaded with the then DMK Chief Minister, who did not listen to him. Tamil Nadu is now paying the price.
There is no indication that conditions will improve in the near future, as Tamil Nadu government is now heavily dependent on liquor sale income , even though liquor habit is causing social and family disturbance to an extreme level.
There can be so many other instances where Rajaji anticipated events, as he could think beyond his time.
It is sad that such a great person is not adequately remembered today, with younger generation not being well informed of the role model like Rajaji, who lived with great wisdom.
---
*Trustee, Nandini Voice For The Deprived, Chennai

Comments

I'm.a teetotaller but I won't support prohibition. What's the data about people who consumed alcohol before prohibition was lifted in Tamil Nadu. What s the data about people whonconsune alcohol in Gujarat and Bihar now? Prohibition will fill the coffers of illicit arrack brewers and smugglers only. Unless and until people realize ad change this can't be contained.

TRENDING

WHO move can 'enable' India to detain citizens, restrict freedom, control media

Counterview Desk  In an an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with copies to concerned Cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and MPs,  health rights network  People’s Alliance for Public Health (PAPH alias JanSwasthya Morcha), has urged that India should not be a signatory to the World Health Organization ( WHO) Pandemic Agreement and Amendments to the  International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005  to be adopted at the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva from 27th May to 1st June, 2024.

'Enough evidence': Covid vaccines impacted women's reproductive health

By Deepika*  In 2024, the news outlets have suddenly started reporting about covid vaccine side effects in a very extensive manner. Sadly, the damage is already done.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Uncertainty in Iran': Raisi brokered crucial Chabahar Port deal with India

By Pranjal Pandey*  Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian President, and the country’s foreign minister were tragically found deceased on May 20, 2024, shortly after their helicopter crashed in foggy conditions. In response, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly appointed a relatively unknown vice president as the interim leader.

Informal, outdoor workers 'excluded': Govt of India's excessive heat policies

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), has demanded urgent government action to protect millions of outdoor workers from extreme heat and heatwaves, insisting declaration of heatwaves as climatic disaster.

Desist from academic censorship, stop threatening scholars: Letter to ICMR

Counterview Desk  In a letter to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director, the Universal Health Organisation (UHO) which consists of prominent health experts, has insisted that the Government of India’s top medical research agency should lead high quality research on vaccine safety and “desist from academic censorship”.

Growing stream of pollution infecting homes, bodies in US, Vietnam

By Erica Cirino*  Louisiana’s “River Parishes,” located along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, shoulder some of the worst industry impacts in the United States. As a result, this region has acquired a grim reputation as “ Cancer Alley .”