I am C. Mamachen, from Kottayam. I hail from a family with no relation to alcohol for four generations. But, I witnessed the impact of alcohol all my life. In my childhood, I saw miseries in the households of my close friends due to alcohol. One of my intimate friend committed suicide due to the effect of alcohol in his life. I had to bring his body down from the rope he used and accompany his body to Medical College for postmortem. Once, I happened to speak to an alcoholic during one of my jail visits. He was imprisoned for raping his daughter and getting her pregnant. He told me without any remorse “I watered a plant and it bore fruit. What should I do? Sell it. Or Eat it. I decided to eat. Is that a mistake?”. On hearing this statement, I was shocked to the core and realised – Alcohol can make one say or do grave things to oneself, family and friends. I decided to fight against Alcohol – to make governments, society and individuals “say NO to alcohol”.
Fight against alcohol has three dimensions. First is to influence governments. Government is the policy maker, alcohol seller and the authority who gives permission to sell. It is our duty to persuade governments to frame policies that ban alcohol. Our constitution states that every citizen of India should work towards alcohol regulation and prohibition. Our priority is to influence governments to ban alcohol. But, we do not have time to wait for a long time. So, it is very important to conduct awareness programs against the ill effects of alcohol in schools, colleges, panchayats, village forums and women groups. This is the second dimension of fight against alcohol. Last year, we were able to organise such awareness programs in 60 places. I thank Almighty for its success. The third dimension of the fight against alcohol is to empower alcoholics “say NO to alcohol”. Now, we are focusing on this activity in Kottayam taluk. Around 120 families are experiencing the joy of their family member coming out of alcoholism. These families meet often and share their new life with others. We are happy to see people from places, Pampady to Ponpally and Kollad to Njaliyakuzhy having peace in their homes. Waves of their joy are reaching every nook and corner of villages. More and more people are joining the group and getting rid of alcoholism. Fight against alcohol will be successful only if we progress on these three fronts.
There is an argument now-a-days on whether we need to create awareness about the ill effects of alcohol or to get the alcohol banned by government. Alcohol consumption will never reduce with awareness programs as long as there is alcohol availability everywhere. A total ban on alcohol along with de-addiction and awareness programs is the only way out. The power of any society lies in the capability of its people to work. Alcohol kills this capability. Leaders of our country need to think about this issue seriously. Development is not clearing forests, paving roads and building multi-storied structures. Development is the development of human resource. Alcohol and drugs are destructing irreplaceable human resources. We need a change and we need to work together for the change. Let God strengthen us and enable us with good thoughts to work together and bring change in our society.