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Op-Ed

The other side of festivity

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By EMN Updated: Dec 12, 2013 9:13 pm
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Vishü Rita Krocha

THE advent of the festive season is unfortunately marred with quite a good number of unwanted incidents, notwithstanding the joys it brings along with it. In just a matter of a week, we have already witnessed a number of tragic accidents, even consuming a few precious lives.To go through such a loss during a festive season has got to be one of the saddest things! And yet, time and again, such tragedy continues to confront our society. If there is someone who is worried sick over a lost car, then we also have victims of car accidents, who are hurt, injured, or even killed, for no fault of theirs. Every year, we are witness to these social ills, which seems to increasingly grow during the festive season.
It’s also funny because just the term “festivity” is supposed to mean joy, good cheer and celebration. On the contrary, many parents and families are left to worry about their children and near and dear ones when we set into this mode of celebration. Beginning with the Hornbill Festival, our society undergoes a number of painful changes.
While, of course, there are motivated and thriving young people who make use of this weeklong Hornbill festival (stretched to another 3 days this year in view of 50 years of statehood) in a very positive manner, there is a larger group of young people who take the wrong direction during this period. The sight of young, but drunk people is no longer a rare sight. We had, for instance, seen them all over the place, from the stretch of Kisama to the ultimate secretariat road, where the popular Hornbill rock contest steals the show while the Hornbill Festival lasted.
And whether you are travelling through these lanes in a car or on foot, it still poses a great challenge of safety, as speeding cars take over, as if a racing competition has just begun or something. Rash and drunken driving has continued to be one of the greatest social problems. It makes you wonder how suddenly the more civilized driving you are more used to, most part of the year, has been transformed when December comes. But it’s also most probably true that ‘driving under the influence of alcohol’ is the culprit.
So much for calling Nagaland a ‘dry state’! You and I know this is the greatest lie we are living for years together. We have seen its highs and lows. But perhaps more on the lows. As it is, alcohol has already polluted us, but prohibition has also done more harm than good. This one really needs no further explanation. We all know that alcohol is overflowing in our state and that,
every nook and corner of the state capital, for instance, is also making thriving business with the sale of either foreign made liquor or local brew. And no kidding, they are some of the richest people in our land.
Still, we happily continue to wear the dry state status, even while knowing full well that the issue of liquor prohibition has ruined our society beyond repair.
But for the most part, it is sad to note that every festivity is so easily linked to the use of alcohol. Even more saddening is the increasing number of accidents under the influence of alcohol. We even have growing number of colonies where drunken brawls and yelling have quite become commonplace, disturbing the peace of the night.
Can we even start thinking or imagining any festivity without the use of alcohol? We need to redefine ‘fun’ and ‘celebration’ for our younger generation because at the rate we are going, festivities are eventually going to kill us. Everyone of us, because there is always a friend, a relative or a family member who is going insane drinking, and drinking and drinking for every single occasion that calls for a celebration.
And as much as we need to instill in the minds of our children the real essence of fun and celebration, there is also a greater need to review the liquor prohibition act. Actually, the need has always been there. We have just simply been ignoring it over and over again.
It is really hard to say if the lifting of liquor prohibition is going to solve the problem, but it’s also out there for everybody to see that the prohibition act isn’t doing us any good either. We never really know what is good for the society until and unless we give it a try. And most of us, I believe, think it’s a good idea to lift it instead of faking something that is never going to work.
The drunkenness, the addiction, the alcoholism, are of course, part of the problem but I also believe that these issues altogether speak of an uncivilized culture that only we have failed to tame. Only when we get to the root of the cause, we can also start solving issues related to it.
And yet, to fight any social ill, requires a common aspiration. And it must be the prerogative of every goodwill citizen to promote peaceful existence in our land.

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By EMN Updated: Dec 12, 2013 9:13:08 pm