Renowned novelist and influential columnist, Kushwant Singh waded into the alcohol debate on Saturday with a column in the Hindustan Times. Known as a whisky drinker he not surprisingly shared his opinion that drinking is not bad as long as its done in moderation.
Many of us have heard Kushwant Singh speak, have read his novels and follow his columns eagerly in the press. In fact, Singh’s weekly column, “With Malice towards One and All”, carried by several Indian newspapers, is among the most widely-read columns in the country. In this piece here’s what he has to say about wines in particular:
In recent years, we also started making wines. Vineyards came up in Maharashtra and Karnataka. So we have our own red, white and rose wines as well as Champagne. Many of them are as good as any imported wine, and are good enough to find markets in old wine-producing countries and earn us foreign exchange.
Our aim should be to produce good quality beverages with low alcoholic content like lager, cider and wines rather than spirits like whiskey, gin, rum or feni. And at low prices which the poor can afford to buy. But will our stupid politicians ever learn any lessons?
Kushwant Singh makes a couple of important points. Firstly, that alcohol beverages especially those like wine should be made available to the poor. He also encourages the government to move as far away from prohibition as it can. By declaring that we’ve been drinking since pre-historic times, he shows that it is very much a part of our culture. And by explaining that drinking is a civilized thing to do, Singh dispels the myth that there’s something wrong about drinking.
He says it all perfectly hitting all the major issues including what the government’s role should be. But perhaps his best phrase is drinking is not a vice, drunkeness is.