27 July, 2021

Message In A Bottle

Dry Gujarat says ‘cheers’ to our national hypocrisy

Illustration by Sorit
Message In A Bottle
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Thank God for those opaque bottles of Diet Coke! Without them, the 25th reunion I attended in Ahmedabad last month would likely have been considerably less spirited. The sight of grown, balding, paunchy men behaving as if they were errant children as they swigged furtively from bottles containing some undetermined alcohol would have been peculiar had not regression into nostalgic adolescence been the whole point of the occasion. In an odd way, an anachronism called prohibition added to the feeling of being pimply and young again as we relived the guilty pleasure of breaking rules and getting indiscriminately wasted.

Sixty years after prohibition was written into our Constitution as part of the directive principles, it lives on in India in a single state burdened with the tag of being the birthplace of the Mahatma. The continuation of prohibition in Gujarat is an oddity for more than one reason. It’s not in line with the Vibrant Gujarat project, where the state wants to present a  blow-dried, spruced-up image of itself for...

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