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The politics of alcoholism in India

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 02 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1394
  1. Vikram Patel, secretary
  1. Sangath Society for Child Development and Family Guidance,Goa, India

    At a recent meeting in Goa organised by the National Commission for Women, its chairwoman, the vibrant and outspoken Ms Mohini Giri, exhorted the women of Goa to join hands with millions of women in other Indian states to demand that prohibition be implemented to reduce the appalling damage resulting from alcohol misuse by men.

    The use of prohibition in India has a long history. Gujarat, the home state of Mahatma Gandhi, declared prohibition soon after the British left and has stuck to this policy ever since. More recently, however, prohibition became a major vote winner in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Haryana. Alcohol misuse has become such an enormous problem that it is now the main issue on which elections are being fought and won.

    Alcohol misuse is one of the main killers of young men in India today. But its real impact is on the social and family dynamics that underlie our communities. Domestic violence and an exacerbation of poverty have made alcohol misuse the single most important problem for women …

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