Ex­emp­tion for Sacral Spir­its in Bi­har?

The Economic Times - - Breaking Ideas -

Bi­har chief min­is­ter Ni­tish Ku­mar’s ful­fil­ment of an elec­toral prom­ise made him the toast of the tem­per­ance league, but it ap­pears to have led to the evap­o­ra­tion of an age-old cus­tom. The gods, at least in In­dian lore, are not known for their ab­stemious­ness. It is also part of the VIP cul­ture of mod­ern In­dia for the pow­er­ful to con­sider them­selves above — and of­ten be­yond — the law. So, deities of cer­tain shrines in Bi­har must be con­sid­er­ably dispir­ited to re­alise that the new pro­hi­bi­tion law has left them dry and cer­tainly not high. Even the nor­mally per­spi­ca­cious CM does not seem to have re­alised that it is the prac­tice of some com­mu­ni­ties to of­fer liquor to their pre­sid­ing deities. It is mostly of the coun­try­made va­ri­ety, but in keep­ing with chang­ing times and pref­er­ences, oc­ca­sion­ally In­dian-made for­eign liquor has been keep­ing di­vine com­pany. In­dia is no stranger to un­usual of­fer­ings, from beer and noo­dles to clocks and toy planes. It is up to the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties to de­cide what should or could be pro­scribed. Per­haps the im­ple­men­ta­tion of pro­hi­bi­tion in Bi­har will be more in the spirit than the let­ter of the law. Ex­emp­tions may be de­manded but may not be ex­pe­di­ent at present, so the best re­course may be for of­fi­cials to de­cide to turn a blind eye to any holy spirit mirac­u­lously ap­pear­ing at shrines.

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