25 years of politics of liquor prohibition: Intellectual approach (Part I)
Dr. E. Renphamo Lotha, Research scholar, GSM
[dropcap]I[/dropcap] have been provoked to tell the truth and shame the false as the saying goes, “tell the truth and shame the devil” about the 25 years of politics of Liquor Prohibition in Nagaland. This refers to the article on Dry State and its effects on Nagaland by Z. Lohe which appeared in the Morung Express on the 13th June, 2014 and the article on Prohibition: Reality check by Hekiye K. Sema from 24th – 25th July, 2014. Congrats to the esteemed concerned writers for telling the true story as rightly pointed out by S.C. Jamir, “Nagaland today is suffering from the famine of truth”. The two souls have filled up the gap of truth in Naga society today.For your kind information, the aforesaid Nagaland total liquor prohibition act, 1989 was opposed by me as the Officer Incharge of the particular law before drafting. The reason was that such law has never been a successful anywhere in the world starting from America ever since 1920. No State in India has been successful in implementation of such impossible law. Such finding was confirmed through my independent research before drafting the law under intense demand and political pressure through voluntary bodies. Accordingly, I took the pain to explain the full facts and circumstances of the impending failure of the law under forceful demand through the Nagaland Baptist Church Council, Naga Mothers’ Association and the Naga Students’ Federation who spearheaded the prohibition movement. But all of them did not listen to reason. Instead of listening to reason, they continued to dictate the Government of the day just to pass the law whether pass or fail though it was none of their business to do so. Law making was the responsibility of the State Government and not voluntary bodies.
To be very frank, the aforesaid bodies became political tools rather than Non Governmental Organisations. Unfortunately, the Government of the day could not resist the forceful political pressure exerted to her through the voluntary bodies for fear of losing votes in the election or pulling down the power of the Government by force. Consequently, she succumbed to the public pressure which was engineered by the political opposition party of the time and agreed to legislate the Nagaland total liquor prohibition act, 1989 as an appeasement policy though fully aware that it was bound to be a real failure forever. Hence, the law became a mockery even after the lapse of 25 years of implementation as the law was a political joke. Hence, the saying goes, “two wrongs do not become a right”. In brief, both the Government of the day and the political opposition party under the aegis of the voluntary bodies were equally guilty for having passed impossible law of the world. Hence, at this late stage of 25 years ever since passing the law any blame game shall never solve the problem except to repeal the failed law.
We are all equal human beings with equal mistakes as the maxim goes, “to err is human”. If we are real human beings, we shall accept the mistake of the past and rectify it like the “trial and error theory” in continuous education. Let us continue to learn out of mistakes by repealing the failed prohibition law and remain in peace.