To drink or not to drink?

If an 18 year old votes in India, he is considered a responsible citizen. When a person gets married at the age of 21, he is considered responsible enough to take care of the family. Who writes these rules? Who decides what age will you be considered sensible? The new drinking law in Delhi and Maharashtra that has been raised to the age of 25 for the youth is not only absurd but is also going to be a cause of many rebellious youngsters who are needed to contribute to our society in a constructive manner and not by drinking illegally. Having asked a few people what they thought about the new law, I was surprised to find out that not many were affected and felt that it didn’t bother them as they would still continue to drink but the only difference now being that it would be considered illegal.

Let’s take a simple example, when a curious five year old is told not to put his hands in the electric socket, he would still do it. This urge is a common human tendency. Let’s not forget that if a child is spoilt due to sheer negligence from his family, he could also be spoilt due to the over protecting environment. Excess of anything is not considered good. By enforcing this law, we are giving rise to the two C’s. The two Cs being, Confusion and Curiosity.

In the words of Henry Miller, Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not yet understood. This word is going to haunt the youth of India today because they have been told to stop something abruptly. This only gives rise to youngsters, who are not able to decide what they should do. On one hand they are considered to act as adults and on the other they are considered not mature enough to drink at such an early age. The average human mind takes time to analyze certain things and act accordingly. If a youth becomes an adult at the age of 18, he or she should be given the right to decide whether he or she wants to drink or not. The root problem in our state is the lack of decision making. From the time a child is born, everything seems to be decided for him/her- school, college and in many cases even marriage. An example to prove what I mean comes from a day when I was talking to my advisor about the lack of flexibility in the Indian education system. He stated that most of the Indian students when asked to pick their courses relevant to their major would remain blank for the first five minutes. This doesn’t mean we do not know what to do, but it’s just a little example of how we react when we are given choices. Everything for us in our country is decided in most of the cases hence it becomes a dilemma for many who are all of a sudden presented with options where they lack decision making skills. The government has again put the young citizens in a very similar situation where the youth of today is being deprived of the freedom to choice. How can a person be eligible for selecting representatives by voting to run a country when he/she cannot even decide to chose to drink or not? But that isn’t the case because an 18 year old in our country is eligible to vote then my question is, why not eligible to drink?

The other posed problem is that of curiosity and everyone knows that it is curiosity that killed the cat.
We ourselves are giving rise to curious young rebels who would not be in any ways affected by this law and would still drink even if they have to do it illegally. Are we not giving rise to law breakers and offenders ourselves and that too in our own neighborhood? Don’t we have enough crime in the cities that needs to be addressed? Many of the government representatives are defending the argument by saying it’s for the better and prevention of addiction. To that may I state, that there remains no specific age for addiction of any sort. An addict is an addict, be it a 23 year old or a 40 year old.

Stop giving excuses of sensibility and give the youth of the nation the choice to select what is right and wrong. The youth needs to be trusted today because the future of the country lies in their hands after all.

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Upasana Bhattacharjee

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