Exemption for Sacral Spirits in Bihar?
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.