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Opinion: The devil lives in a bottle

Why is alcohol first in line for expansion of power to develop Kashmir post article 370? Ask yourself!

Truth Arrived - The Devil Lives in a Bottle - Tabassum Ashraf
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Embarrassed, averting my eyes reproachfully and shuffling away as they met my grandmother`s, seated next to her in a car, belonging to typical conformist Muslim family where even the mention of the word “Alcohol” could be pushing Islamic boundaries, trying not to look and but still catch a glimpse outside. I so wished it did not exist, its unholy existence petrifies me. Chucklesome, it actually shuts in Ramadhan for inconvenience of the dipsomaniacs. Stop guesstimating. I am talking of Satan’s abode with his legions, basically a liquor shop standing monolithically on highway in Kashmir. After initial bewilderment what torments me is pehren clad Muslim men some in twenties and some in fifties buying alcohol in a broad day light. They try to cover their faces knowing the social stigma, the forbidden damp has in Kashmir. No offences to the paramours of the dram but my grandmother visibly annoyed and cursing with ragged breath choicest of cuss words. Calling it human piss and horse pee are actually lesser versions of what I could put in words. She laments how it vends in the land of Sufis and shrines.

Alcohol is like a square peg in a round table in Kashmir. Drinking is forbidden in culture. My granny`s age old wisdom tells without mincing words and no concealment that it ruins individuals and families. She even gives example of a strong man and when his adversaries could not defeat him so they got him addicted to alcohol. His family ostracized him and he could never find a match. He died of kancer (cancer) that’s how we pronounce it in Kashmir, on his knees blood trailing from his nostrils and only few people went for his Funeral and he probably ended in hell as he brought disgrace to his family and clan. My grandmother juxtaposed fate of an addict in a slash.

Revisiting grandmother`s words stumblingly four years after her death, when I came across the news that government is planning to open number of liquor shops in Kashmir valley. With deep contemplation, trying to sort reasoning in this. I am just asking, have you never come across success story of a society which became great by getting its people addicted to alcohol. It never has a happy ending. It destroys everything including wealth, health everyone who the person loves. It breaks family ties close, long-time childhood friendships die; you can lose your reputation in a matter of seconds. And it stinks, smell piercing sense organs. And how can you risk your social life for a beverage which has agenda to ruin you, they’re bigger risks than just ruining your present it can destroy your future and past as well.

Everyday newspapers splashed with the faces of dead. Young men feel like pawns in this mindless violence some of them to cope with the uncertainty, trauma and anxiety created by the day to day conflict by using drugs. The easy availability of drugs is already ravaging generations. Young chaps are shifting and changing from one form of drug abuse to another. Opening of liquor shops will boost this plague. They can easily lug to this intoxicant as it will be easily accessible over the counter. Now do we really need liquor here. Kashmir is seamlessly losing youth who are choosing life over death. Untold number of them taking drugs, dying in slow pain and infamy by giving in to addictions. We are at loss either ways. But the sooner we can acknowledge that victims of drug addiction and alcoholism will not bring bright future. Alcohol addiction and unrest in valley can become lethal combination. On top of that, people addicted to alcohol lead to crime and misdemeanour. People with addictions are more inclined to violence. Some are thinking of economic gains by drowning our youth in quagmire of addiction. In all reality, it will be addition to miasma of destruction and pain in Kashmir.

The valley has resources and land, some even believe they are worth the blood shed we had for centuries. Why not generating resources and bringing so called development by establishing football stadiums, gyms, recreational parks, libraries, hospitals, colleges and universities. Let it not be one long adventure and bounty of lives of our youth. Why is alcohol first in line for expansion of power to develop Kashmir post article 370? Ask yourself.

The society as a whole need to wake up from the deep slumber to counter this menace, which is destroying our young generation. Remember those whom we love the most, our children then you will realize that we all need is to keep liquor out of Kashmir. This is the only way to nurture the legacy and heritage of Kashmir. To keep our history clean let’s, take a stand that we will not let anyone destroy the sanctity of our heaven for which our ancestors have scarified their lives and built with patience. We love Kashmir. Those who are ordering the opening of liquor shops claim the same. Let’s seek answers from them and tell them it’s show time. If you love Kashmir then why destroy it. Our culture is Kashmir. If you destroy it, you destroy the very idea of Kashmir.

The author is a journalist born in Kashmir, based in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. She writes for Truth Arrived.


  1. Very well written and straight forward article

  2. Very well written and straight forward article

  3. Best in everything...content...thinking...writing...prayers for kashmir


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