TODAY -

Churchill for Whisky and 'Yu' for Us

Free Thinker *



Sir Winston Churchill was once asked about his position on whisky. Here's how he replied: "If you mean whisky, the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; If you mean that evil drink that topples men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fibre of my being.

"However, if by whisky you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the elixir of life, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; If you mean good cheer, the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning;

If you mean that drink that enables man to magnify his joy, and to forget life's great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow; If you mean that drink the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of pounds each year, that provides tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitifully aged and infirm, to build the finest highways, hospitals, universities, and community colleges in this Nation. Then my friend, I am absolutely, unequivocally in favour of it. This is my position, and as always, I refuse to compromise on matters of principle."

I don't want to authenticate Churchill's reply on Whisky, because I love to quote it, to put forward my campaign against the prohibitionists.

Apart from his firm stand on Whisky, Churchill was a literary person also. Every word and line is worth reading. Sir Winston Churchill's vocabulary and command of the English language was unparalleled. Most people forget that he was also a Nobel Laureate for Literature. Many still recall him as the British Prime Minister of the Second World War vintage.

I completely agree with Churchill Saheb on Whisky (alcohol). My stand is in conformity with his answer. There are good and bad things about liquor . But we often ignore the economics behind it;–it is a big revenue generator; a huge number of people are engaged in manufacturing, storing, packaging, marketing, importing, exporting alcoholic drinks.

If we open up and start commercializing 'Yu' , there will be no looking back. Don't worry about rice supply – Moreh rice has been endorsed by the Brewers.

Once "Yu" business booms, all the farmers in the State will also start doing double or triple cropping of rice– irrigation has to be revamped. Water is available plenty during the rainy season; the only need is to preserve water for future use. Filling water bodies with rain water everywhere in every possible way during the monsoon will certainly help.

MLA Local Area Development Funds may be allowed to be used for this purpose. Digging new ponds, deepening the old lakes, building check dams over streams and rivulets, making wells at strategic points, setting up of hand water pumps etc. should be the order of the day. This will serve two purposes– providing drinking water and water for paddy varieties which requires less water (like KRH-4).

Delhi has earned more than 1.7 lac crore rupees in 2021 from the sale of liquor. Tamil Nadu has collected 36,013 crore in 2021 from Excise duties. Punjab has made Rs 24,772 crore. Coming to smaller States- Sikkim has an income of about Rs 200 crore every year; Goa about Rs 500 crore, Meghalaya and Tripura about Rs 300 crore each annually.

It is estimated that Manipur may collect nearly 500 crore rupees yearly from alcohol. We are losing this revenue. We are a poor State and we need revenue mobilization from every quarter. This is the high time to stop the ban on liquor.

At the same time we must encourage the production, packaging and pushing of our local brew "Yu", which has already earned its fame & recognition from the visitors and tourists. One Japanese visitor said ,"Sekmai is more powerful than our Sake."

Rich States like Gujarat can afford to skip the Excise duties because they have many other resources. Manipur can't afford to do so. Riding on moral high ground and showing sympathy towards the Nisha bandis we had declared 'dry'. Since then we have been haunted by huge economic losses over the years. Moreover we all know that the drinkers are getting their quota from anywhere. So, it has been a futile exercise.

Prohibition never succeeds anywhere; if you don't believe, ask any Manipuri or Bihari – you will get the right reply. Then who is the loser ? Bootleggers mint money at the expense of the State.

This time we have a Government with absolute majority– this is the right time to do something sensible for the State and for the people. Revenue generation is one of the priorities. Lift the prohibition and see prosperity.

Any argument, please refer to Churchill's stand on Whisky. Cheers.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on May 29 2022 .



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