India Alcohol Hindustan Times/Getty Images

La hipocresía de la prohibición en la India

NUEVA DELHI – El mes pasado murieron 18 personas en el distrito Gopalganj, en el estado Bihar, después de consumir alcohol ilegal, destacando —una vez más— la peculiar relación entre la moralidad y la tragedia en la India. Las víctimas se envenenaron porque en abril de este año, en un ataque de moralismo, Bihar adoptó una ley draconiana que prohíbe la venta, posesión y el consumo de alcohol. No es ni remotamente la primera vez que una prohibición de este tipo termina mal.

En un país donde el héroe nacional es el santo Mahatma Gandhi, quien consideraba al alcohol como algo absolutamente diabólico, beber siempre conllevó un tufillo de deshonra. La Constitución de la India, en sus Principios Directivos no ejecutables, insta a los indios a trabajar en pos de la prohibición, y el gobierno no sirve alcohol ni siquiera en los banquetes de estado y las recepciones oficiales. Cuatro de los 29 estados indios (Bihar, Gujarat, Manipur y Nagaland) y un territorio de la unión (Lakshadweep o islas Laquedivas) están intentando implementar actualmente la prohibición total.

Pero mantener una política de prohibición generalizada es difícil desde hace mucho en la India. En Manipur, en 2002, la prohibición de 1991 fue eliminada en cinco distritos de las áreas de la colina, donde el consumo de alcohol es una tradición local desde hace siglos. Lakshadweep hace una excepción con una isla deshabitada, donde se permite que un centro turístico tenga un bar. Cuando era niño, lo que entonces era Bombay, disculpaba a quien contara con una nota de un médico que confirmara su alcoholismo. (Los ejecutivos adinerados tropezaban para ser catalogados como alcohólicos).

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