TODAY -

'Yu', drink less & export more

Free Thinker *



Right drinking citizens feel elated when the Government lifts the prohibition. What is more thrilling is that, now we can manufacture and export our highly prestigious brew 'Yu'. Believe me within a few months we will capture the NE liquor market.

If we maintain quality and adopt good marketing policies 'Yu' can even intrude into Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal within a few years' time. All and sundry will be happy to get our drinks of great kicks at a reasonable price. In fact, our rice, water, ingredients and exotic manufacturing process make our brew unique and fantabulous.

'Yu' has been our cultural drink since time immemorial. Even today if you go to 'Loi' areas for any ceremony or ritual you are served with the alcoholic brew,home-made or locally prepared. Everyone takes it just like we take tea or coffee; if you consider this customary practice as actual drinking then that is ridiculous.

Prohibition remained redundant for such customary practices. However uncontrolled heavy drinking has always been looked down upon under any circumstances - customary or otherwise. The etiquette of drinking has been reflected in 'Yu kourol Puya' (I haven't read it).

Sir Winston Churchill was once asked about his position on whisky. Here's how he replied: "If you mean whisky, the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; If you mean that evil drink that topples men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fibre of my being."

"However, if by whisky you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the elixir of life, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; If you mean good cheer, the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning; If you mean that drink that enables man to magnify his joy, and to forget life's great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow;"

"If you mean that drink the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of pounds each year, that provides tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitifully aged and infirm, to build the finest highways, hospitals, universities, and community colleges in this nation. Then my friend, I am absolutely, unequivocally in favour of it. This is my position, and as always, I refuse to compromise on matters of principle."

There are good and bad things about liquor. But we often ignore the crucial economics behind it; it is a big revenue generator; a huge number of people are engaged in manufacturing, storing, packaging, marketing, importing, exporting alcoholic drinks.

If we open up and start commercializing 'Yu', there will be no looking back. It will certainly bring prosperity to the State and also to the people who are directly or indirectly linked with 'Yu' business.

Before lifting the prohibition a few months back the State government had expressed its willingness to commercialize our local brew, by exporting it. The idea carries a good economic sense. If I understand the 'White Paper' published by the Government it seems that large scale mechanization of 'Yu' production may not take place ; only small scale industries ( and cottage type) may be permitted that too under State control.

The manufacturing and production of liquor will be controlled by the State under a kind of a license raj. This may propagate favouritism and nepotism. So a more transparent and open policy may be worked out by the State. And at the same time entry of liquor from other Starts may be restricted so that we promote ours lavishly and liberally.

Meanwhile our good news is that Modiji's rice supply to the poor will continue for another few years until further order. Now what we can do is eat Modi rice and use local rice for alcohol production. Moreover these days nobody is buying local rice as it is costly. We are getting Modi rice at extremely low price even in black-open-market. Frankly, Modi rice will indirectly trigger a booming-start to our brew industry. Modi hai to mumkin hai.

We must now concentrate on production, packaging and pushing of our local brew which has already earned its international fame via global visitors and tourists. Affluent States can afford to skip the excise duties because they have many other sources of income. Manipur can't afford to do so. Now the good economic sense prevails over any other considerations.

Rightly the Government has lifted the prohibition. I have understood the Extra-Ordinary Gazette notification dated 6 December 2023, which says there is no prohibition in tourist locations as indicated at number 3. Manipur is such a beautiful State that every spot is a tourist location. So, consequently it may be cost rued that prohibition has been completely lifted from the State.

Instead of killing one another let us now compete on drinking, distilling, decor and distribution of our elixir. Cheers!


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on December 11 2023 .



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