Fact: Indians are the heaviest drinkers, maybe after Arabs. Below is a screenshot taken from Institute of Alcohol Studies that prove my claim:
For the full article on alcoholism among Indians in Malaysia, click here.
Alcohol and Deepavali
Deepavali is the designated day for many Malaysian Indian males to get piss drunk and indulge in mutton curry. Alcohol has become synonymous with Deepavali. So is mutton. All those Malaysian Indian Hindus who passionately and religiously opposed cow slaughter on Hari Raya Korban now condone goat korban. Because cows give us life sustaining milk. I wonder what goat gives. Aah, yes, goats give milk shower cream.
So, Indians and alcohol are inseparable. But, there’s a campaign that wants to separate Indians and alcohol on Deepavali day. It’s called Alcohol Free Deepavali 2015. Currently, the campaign is running in temples and flyers are handed out to those who had come to the celebration of Navaratri, mostly ladies. I am not finding faults. I think the campaign is great. But the venue and target group misfire. This is a good step though. This article focuses on how this step can be improved.
I say that it’s not going to make a difference due to the missed target. Quoting GV Prakash in Trisha Illana Nayanthara, “Veetle purushan kudicha, pondati butthi mathi sollanum, yennege, kudikathingge, kudicha udambukku kedu, nu” Doctors, oncologists soldretheye kekkathe neenge pondati solliya kekka poringge?
Instead of campaigning in temples and handing out flyers in temples to ladies, these organizers should go to Chinese makan shops at night, stop at tables where machas guffaw, blare loudspeakers, “Alcohol free deepavali,” throw in some Garuda Puranam punishment in the afterlife, do it within the vision of other races and advocate non alcoholism for the rest of the year. Because, one day religious show means nothing. The other races are going to call us ‘India mabuk’ the rest of the year. It’s pointless if a macha is sober only on Deepavali day, thinking, “Aiyo, kudike mudiyiliye,” and then serbu liquor shop first thing the next day.
Just like Thaipusam one day best behaviour, 1 day alcohol free day on Deepavali is just as effective in curbing alcoholism as celebrating one single Earth Day where we shut off all electrical appliances for one hour and then letting them run unused for hours throughout the year.
What does Hinduism and Indian culture say about alcohol
Now let’s see what Hinduism has to say about the consumption of alcohol.
If you want to know more about Hinduism and alcohol, click here.
So, as you can see, Hinduism doesn’t have absolute do’s and don’t’s. It leaves you to decide what’s good for you and what’s not. It encourages you to take responsibilities of your actions. Don’t mistake me that I am saying that drinking is good. Hinduism says that it’s up to the individual. It says be accountable. So, saying that Hindus shouldn’t drink on Deepavali or even saying Hinduism forbids drinking is flawed in itself. This is the militant version of Hinduism, like the Hindus who murdered a Muslim man who allegedly kept beef in his fridge in India. Hinduism doesn’t encourage meat eating but it doesn’t encourage manslaughter on the dietary habits of others. Hinduism doesn’t encourage fanaticism either. It’s very important for Malaysian Indian Hindus to know all these things before going ‘proud to be Hindu’. Hinduism lasted till today due to its progressive nature.
There’s even a god in Hinduism dedicated to alcohol and intoxicating substances and it’s Soma, not Satan. However if a Hindu wants to attain moksha there are certain things that need to be abstained from, including alcohol due to its pernicious effect not only to the health but also to family and society; it’s wilful self harming. Not drinking on Deepavali day doesn’t guarantee moksha. Not drinking at all guarantees moksha. If so, most Indian Hindu men won’t attain moksha.
Hindus believe that God is not separate from his creation. They are one and the same. There is no evil. All is good since all is God.
Life is an endless cycle of reincarnations until a person is able to escape it and merge into Nirvana, nothingness.
To break this endless cycle of birth, death, and reincarnation, it is necessary for a person to do charity and meditate to reach a higher consciousness.
The practice of yoga in its various forms is considered very important to reach this goal.
The devotees in the strict yoga groups are forbidden to eat meat, eggs, and fish. They are forbidden from any forms of intoxication; no alcohol or drugs. No sex outside of marriage is allowed. And, within marriage, it is only to produce children. Neither is gambling allowed.
You can also find alcohol being used in religious occasion in orthodox Hindu groups.
There is nothing that is banned in Hinduism. You are responsible for your actions and you will get the results (good or bad), that is the karma theory.”
Read more here
This is not to say I endorse alcohol consumption on Deepavali day. I am showing that one day show is as effective as sweeping your house only once a year and expect it to be clean the rest of the year. This campaign suits those who drink only on Deepavali day, not those who drink all year round.
Why alcoholism among Malaysian Indians need to hop aboard stoppage not only on Deepavali day
My uncle, who is a benign man when sober, turns completely into a different person after he drinks. From sadhu, he becomes sadhu mirandal.
Once thanni goes in, Dutch Courage comes out. Yes, alcohol induces violence. Most gang activities and violent deeds done by Malaysian Indians were done under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol has a way with messing with normal brain activity and bring out the monster in a person. Worst, the person doesn’t even know what he/she’s doing after getting drunk. Many Indians get physically and verbally abusive once alcohol is consumed. The main problem is not knowing when to stop and control the drinking which leads to violent behaviour among Indians. The Chinese drink as well even on Chinese New Year. Oru sattham varutha?
Binge drinking is also a problem. Malaysia ranks 10th in the world in alcohol consumption and it’s often related to alcohol addiction. The following are the problems that arise due to excessive alcohol consumption:
* It can lead to full blown alcoholism.
* It can lead to symptoms of depression and other mental health problems.
* There is a close association between alcohol abuse and suicide.
* Overindulgence in alcohol can also be harmful to the economy due to lost productivity because of hangovers or the need to take sick days.
* A culture of alcohol abuse can destroy communities.
* It is associated with both domestic and sexual abuse. (Reminds me of the PD parang case where a woman was chopped by two men, Indians of course)
* It increases levels of crime.
* It means that people are unable to meet their family and social responsibilities. This type of behavior is not only bad for them but also for their family and the rest of society.
* Money that should be invested in the family and the future gets wasted on alcohol.
For full details on the effects of binge drinking and underage alcohol consumption as well as rehab help, click here.
Tamil movies influence
Nowadays, there are almost no Tamil movies that show smoking and drinking. Worse, it is justified, “Thanni adicha thappama, thitrama ungge appa ma, yemma..”
Drinking is glorified. That it denotes celebration. Machas use every reason to drink the most common one, due to love failure.
Yes, there are warnings and the Mukesh guy dying due to oral cancer he got due to chewing tobacco in the beginning of Tamil movies but are alcohol sales and alcohol consumption decreasing at such warnings? Guys who can say miniskirts is not in our culture forget that Black Label and Heineken aren’t in our culture as well. A tiny warning at the far left side down under gets drowned by the visuals that show drinking and smoking enjoyed immensely or as comfort in sorrow and dejection or in search of peace. Girlfriend vittu pona thanni, pondati tholle tanggamudilenu kude sarakku.
Smoking is considered stylish and Rajinikanth popularised that. In Jagat the movie, a kid follows Rajini’s smoking style in the trailer. This are the cues our youth pick up, including fathers saying to sons, “Don’t drink,” while swigging down a glass of beer. Action speaks louder than words.
Indians are notorious for drinking and it wasn’t always for fun or addiction. It was to help them sleep and relieve body ache after toiling in the estates. Even women drank..
I am all for alcohol free Deepavali but that is not a solution for intemperate living among Malaysian Indians. It won’t solve the inebriation problem. It’s just an ego boost which in the eyes of other races amounts to nothing. Say yes to alcohol free life and extend the campaign throughout the year and not just in few days leading up to Deepavali. Direct the campaign to the correct target, not at some Indian ladies who come to temple because those Indian men who drink aren’t bhaktimaan type. That steps will yield some substantial result. Mothers, beat your sons and daughters with kuchi velekemaaru if you find out they’ve been smoking and drinking. 6 le valeyathathu 60 le valayathu so valechurengge. I am not discouraging or being pessimistic. I’m just saying how to get lasting results rather than 1 day show. We were so proud that Hindu Indians were so well behaved during Thaipusam 2015 but the same Indians broke a theater’s glass because Maari screening was cancelled and the PD woman slashing incident. Also, censoring words like beer, rum, scotch etc from songs like THR Raaga does isn’t going to make any difference so holier than thou peeps, shut it. Let’s not cheat ourselves and try to cheat god alright?
God doesn’t like hypocrites and neither do other races are going to know that Indians do abstain from alcohol on Deepavali when they see inebriated Indian men making the roadsides, park benches and petrol stations their bedroom all year round.