The Citizens of the city of Bangalore are now in the throes of selecting their ward representatives [carporators] who will administer the city for the next five years. This time over there are two hundred of them. Normally one would expect the contestants to be educated with a flair for social service with administrative ability and leadership qualities. Going by the newspaper reports and what I have seen and heard these candidates on TV, a large percentage of them appear to be slum lords, gangsters and extortionists, undercover dons who have come over ground only to contest the elections. Many of them have the additional qualification of being school drop outs. Their sole qualification in getting nomination from the major political parties is winnabllity.
Most are locally well known in their respective wards not for any acts of gallantry or for social work, but because of creating nuisance such as extorting, creating ruckus during festivals and taking out processions, boot legging and it should come as no surprise that many are rowdy sheeters registered with the local police stations. But they all have one additional qualification, that is money. This enables them to hire unemployed youth from the slums and shanty towns of the city where majority of voters live for doing election work. One TV channel showed these young men having a good time after the day’s electioneering, sitting in happy groups drinking and dancing. The electioneering involves visiting the voters with hands folded during day time and clandestine visits during the evenings to distribute goodies like clothing, kitchen utensils, cash and the prince of all gifts, alcohol.
Hooch is the term commonly used for illicit liquor sold without license. This city is in love with alcohol. Many years ago when prohibition was introduced [driven down the throats of people] all over the country, Bangalore was the only city that was spared. This city has many legacies left over by our erstwhile masters, the Britishers. One of them is the habit of drinking. Depending on affordability and class, there are three types of drinking men [and women]. The first are economically well off who drink the high end of spirits [scotch and other imported stuff], the second are the not so well off who drink what is called IMFL [Indian made foreign liquor] and the last are the weaker sections who drink the cheapest available that includes illicit alcohol. It is not uncommon to see many dying after consuming this illicit brew contaminated with methyl alcohol. But across the board we Bangaloreans love our drink and come election time we give free vent to this love of ours.
Alcohol users form the majority of voting public, and this time they have put forth their own demands to the prospective candidates. Stop making impossible promises like providing nonstop water, electricity, clearing the clogged drains and the like and work towards meeting the following demands.
Provide shelters near liquor shops where inebriated persons can spend the nights instead of on the footpaths and roadside as it is done now.
In case one was to be found sleeping off in the above unacceptable areas, see that they are not disturbed by the police and the good Samaritans who pass by. This applies to street dogs also.
When we are zigzagging our way back home late at night, passing vehicles must slow down and allow us to go our way. We should have the right of way and not these crazy drivers. Policemen should leave us alone and not drag us to the police station and disturb our sleep and pleasure.
Wives are a major problem. They don’t seem to understand the importance of alcohol in our lives. They scream and shout at us when all we want is to get our well earned sleep. Often we are made to sleep on the door steps of our own homes. This must stop.
Last but not the least; we are the major revenue earners for the government. Excise levy on liquor forms 40% of the state’s revenue. It is therefore the duty of all the future carporators to work to reduce the duty on liquor and all of us then can afford to drink quality liquor and need not risk our lives drinking illicit hooch.