Liquor policy needs to beat his license raj hangover
Long before Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia got caught up in an alleged liquor policy scam, when nearly every market in India was a market for vendors, generations of Indians grew up informed by Tintin comics – instead of the web – to find that alcohol can make you dizzy, sure, even wobbly if you get too tipsy, but doesn’t exactly make us see double. However, before Georges Prosper Remi (1907–1983), better known as Hergé, could be accused of fake news, a postmodern reading of his drunken twin images came to the rescue. If we didn’t take them literally, we found, we could suppress the idea that liquor does indeed give many things two faces. Government policy, for example. Or the politics of it, for that matter. So if Hergé’s comics need a sensitivity scrub, a la Dahl, it’s not about letting kids grow up expecting this magic potion to work pluralistic miracles. Today, after all, this industry is a marvel of federal pluralism, with liquor banned by some states and a rapidly swelling tide in others. It’s also a story of supply bustle, with a heady brew of good intentions and hidden interests that have kept the rules muddled in a time capsule (or keg) of licensed raj vintage.