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Wine away

Where there is wine there is a way. But there are three villages in Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh where wine has no way. Anyone found with a bottle of liquor in one of these villages is in big trouble. Such people are humiliated, as well as asked to pay a fine of Rs 10,000.  So, everyone stays away from tippling to keep their pockets teeming – though at the cost of their parched throat. The residents of Dewari Naveen, Tinheta and Baribara treat a bottle of ale as a stale-juggler. None in these three hamlets has touched liquor for more than 12 years. The condition is such that they cannot even say “Are bade dinon ki baad mili hein de daru.… de daru de daru ….” It has happened because of the efforts of some women who fought tooth and claw to keep their husbands away from a swig of liquor. As most of the male members of their families began to swill, the women and children were on the ropes. Initially, it was difficult to make their male counterparts follow the don’t-touch-liquor norms. Ergo, many women complained to the Panchayat about their drunkard husbands, and all the swiggers were heavily fined. After the men in these villages have sworn off alcohol, they have become workaholics. Women are happy, though it is barely known anything about what their male counterparts actually think, but they can hardly sing ‘Thodi si jo pee li hai…’ as they know ‘daaru bandh kaal se…”

Read also: Ganja sparks fume

Who should be purified?

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Illustration By Hasan Zaidi

There is neither a Mahatma Gandhi nor a Vinoba Bhave to change the hearts of criminals. Yet the process they started has become part of the Bhopal Central Jail where the authorities are turning those convicted of heinous crimes into priests. Out of 2,000 convicts, 50 were initially selected on the basis of a test and imparted knowledge in Vedic rituals, so that they may work towards people’s welfare and lead a decent life after release. There are 3,600 prisoners, including 1,600 undertrials, in the central jail. Most of the inmates are poor and semi-literate. They used to remain in depression, but after the training has begun, they have started looking at life positively. Such a process is called catharsis which is about cleansing and healing memories and attitudes. It heals the spirit and the heart of a person who has committed some hideous crime. Yes, a hardened criminal can be changed into a good human being, but what about the rioters who are literate and belong to well-off families. Such people should also go through the purification process as their deeds leave a trail of destruction. A professor of English literature at a degree college in Bhopal said that the authorities should do something to change the hearts of those who sanctify and glorify violence under the garb of religion.

Bar on foreign beer falls

The saying that where one stands depends on where one sits is apt to the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh. When the Kamal Nath-led Congress government decided to allow opening of liquor outlets to generate revenue to fill in the empty coffers, the present Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who was then in opposition tore into Nath. He even resolved to launch an agitation against the government’s excise policy. The Congress government was ousted in March 2020, but the present government has framed the same excise policy as its counterpart under Nath did, despite BJP leader Uma Bharti’s threat to launch a movement against the sale of liquor. The story does not end there. Now that the MP government has decided to reduce import duty on foreign beers, those exotic drinks are all set to soak the throats of Bhopalites. A cabinet sub-committee on excise policy headed by Home Minister Narottam Mishra recently recommended reduction of import duty on foreign brands of beer. The consumption of beer has gone up because of severe heat and decline in its rates. Ergo the Bhopalites are getting ready for a swig of chilled foreign beers. Why not? Who can forget what Omar Khayyam said, “Oh! My beloved! Fill the cup, that clears today of past regrets and future fears.” This is what the government has exactly done for the soakers.

Read also: Innocent remark?

Tailpiece

A man from Lucknow applies for a post of  estate agent in Delhi.

The owner of the firm says, “Your CV is a bit small. How will you sell big apartments as you are supposed to?”

He replies, “Sir, it is cosy.” He is immediately appointed.

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