I always feel a sense of admiration among the scholars when they talk about Kerala. Kerala is different from the rest of the country in terms of high literacy rate, high life expectancy, low female infanticide and feticide rate, high sex ratio etc. All these are something that we, as Malayalis, are proud of.
And yes, we do top the list for the most alcohol consuming state as well. And this is not news. We have been on the top of the list for quite some time now. What amuses me is that how is it that despite being the state with the highest literacy rate we still tend to ignore the harmful effects of alcohol and how it’s affecting the society as a whole?
The rate of consumption of liquor increases drastically when there is a festival like Onam or Christmas. As the years pass by people have forgotten the real reason why we celebrate these festivals, forgotten about Mahabali and Jesus Christ and their only concern is to get to the beverage shop before the stock gets over. For a Malayali every festival has become a reason to drink and this is how we celebrate our festivals now. And every year we break our old record. Isn’t this putting our culture and tradition into question?
Even if the government increases the price of liquor people are willing to buy it. These are the people who complain about increase in price of other commodities, but when it comes to liquor no one is bothered. But are the people only to blame?
In Kerala, the production and distribution of alcohol is done by Kerala State Beverages Corporation. It brings the largest revenue to the state. According to a report that came in The Hindu Rs. 433.90 crore was collected as revenue in the first two months of the current fiscal (2012-2013). Liquor sales helps in giving rise to Kerala’s economy. Hence whichever government comes to power they won’t be willing to cut down on their main source of revenue. Herein lies the main problem.
On the outside Kerala seems to be doing pretty well. But this alcohol consumption has led to many other problems though it’s not prominent to the outside world. Alcohol consumption has given rise to many crimes, road accidents, spousal abuse, divorces, suicides etc. Unless government decides to take drastic actions to curb the liquor sales we will setting out few other new records as well. (We already do have the highest rate of divorce and suicide).