Life after Mizoram passes the MLPC Act 2014. | Milaap

Life after Mizoram passes the MLPC Act 2014.

It has been about four months since the Mizoram Liquor Prohibition and Control Act (MLPC) 2014 has been enforced in Mizoram on 15th January 2015, after the 17-year-old ban on consumption of liquor in the state. Under the new rules, sale of alcohol has been restricted to a degree where wine shops can open under strict regulations and people over 21 can drink and purchase liquor after applying for a liquor card. Excise and Narcotics Department of Mizoram where application form for Liquor Card is available. Excise and Narcotics Department of Mizoram where application form for Liquor Card is available. Historically, alcohol (different varieties of rice beer) has been very much a part of our Mizo culture. Back during the days when we were warring tribes fighting amongst ourselves under different clans, when we were Animists long before the missionaries came, we drank at every village festival, danced around the bonfire under the crystal blue moonlight, drunk and carefree. All that changed when the Welsh missionaries arrived in Mizoram in 1894 during British colonization.
Milaap is India's largest crowdfunding platform for the Social and personal cause.  Along with Christianity, they gave us a script, taught us how to read and write, educated us and abolished some social evils such as the practice of slavery, animal sacrifice, raiding villages and the tradition of proving one’s bravery by beheading somebody from a rival clan in order to become a pasaltha. It is thanks to their relentless effort that even though we had a late start on the literacy scene, Mizoram is now one of the most literate states in India, second only to Kerala. But the missionaries also made us do away with other practices, such as our consumption of alcohol (terming it a sin) and the way we would sing in unison with drums (which was, ironically introduced into our Church rituals years later). Christianity remains a major legacy of the British in Mizoram to this day and consumption of alcohol continues to be considered a grave sin. It was church influence that resulted in the Congress government passing the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition (MLTP) Bill in 1995. The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Bill 2014, introduced by Excise and Narcotics minister R. Lalzirliana, was passed despite vehement opposition from the Mizoram Presbyterian Church, the largest denomination in the Christian-dominated state. All the Opposition members opposed the bill in their apparent attempt to appease the influential churches. Introducing the MLTP bill, Lalzirliana said the number of people admitted to hospital because of alcohol consumption has considerably increased after the prohibition was imposed in 1997. The restrictions on alcohol also led to an increase in drug abuse among the youth. “As the prohibition only increased the sale of spurious liquor, we strongly felt the need to lift the prohibition so that those people who cannot do without drinks can find good quality liquor at cheaper prices,” he said. He also refuted the churches’ allegations that the government was tempted by the huge revenue to be earned from liquor.2 Wine Store in Millennium Mall in Mizoram. Punishing offenders. The first two Wine shops opened on 16th March 2015 which are both located in the main market. One is located in the only mall in Mizoram called Millennium Mall and the other is located at New Market which are both Government property. Sale of alcohol is still prohibited in all localities by the Y.M.A /Young Mizo Association (the largest and most comprehensive non-profit, secular and non governmental organization of the Mizo people) and the church. I remember announcements being made in every locality warning people that no one should sell alcohol or allow their properties to be used for storing or selling liquor. Two more wine shops have opened at Millennium Mall which are always jam packed. People stand in line for hours with their liquor cards ready which allow them to purchase 13 cans or 10 bottles of beer a month and 6 bottles of hard liquor a month. So far the people of Mizoram have been handling the situation quite well. A few drunk people causing nuisance have been punished by making them do community service like cleaning public places and jail time with fine. Lets hope that amending the MLTP Act prevents the consumption of spurious alcohol and reduces drug abuse with no rise in immorality, no decline in spirituality and no deterioration of law and order.