On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, the nation not only pays homage to the Father of the Nation but also upholds his vision. One of the measures taken to honor Gandhi’s legacy is the implementation of alcohol prohibition, commonly referred to as a “Dry Day,” on Gandhi Jayanti, celebrated on October 2nd. During a Dry Day, all licensed establishments, including bars, hotels, liquor shops, wholesale dealers, and even casinos, are legally prohibited from selling alcohol. This practice of observing Dry Days has been in place for many years as part of government policy.
Understanding Dry Days:
A Dry Day signifies the temporary ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages. Since the regulation of alcohol sales falls under the purview of individual states, the specific rules regarding prohibition can vary across the country. For instance, the Delhi government enforces restrictions on alcohol sales during three national holidays: Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanti, and Independence Day. Additionally, Delhi designates several significant religious observance days as Dry Days, including Ram Navami, Guru Ravi Das Jayanti, and Holi, among others.
Conversely, there are states like Gujarat and Bihar that have implemented a comprehensive ban on the sale of alcohol within their territories. Haryana, on the other hand, stands as the only state with just one full-fledged Dry Day. In Haryana, liquor sales are permitted after 5 p.m. on Independence Day and Republic Day. However, Gandhi Jayanti remains a completely alcohol-free day in the state.
States with Total Alcohol Prohibition:
Several Indian states have opted for complete prohibition on the sale of alcohol:
- Gujarat: Gujarat has maintained a strict ban on alcohol sales since 1960.
- Bihar: In April 2016, Bihar introduced a comprehensive ban on the sale of alcohol, and this prohibition continues to be enforced.
- Mizoram: In 2019, the government of Mizoram imposed a ban on alcohol sales, making it one of the dry states in India.
- Nagaland: Since 1989, Nagaland has also prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Why Gandhi Jayanti Is a Dry Day:
The observance of a Dry Day on Gandhi Jayanti aligns with Mahatma Gandhi’s strong stance against alcohol consumption. Gandhi expressed his opposition to liquor consumption, stating, “The drink and the drug evil is in many respects infinitely worse than the evil caused by malaria and the like; for, whilst the latter only injures the body, the former saps both body and soul.”
Following India’s independence in 1947, the constitution incorporated principles of alcohol prohibition within the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP). While these principles are not legally enforceable, they serve as guiding principles for the nation’s governance.
On Gandhi Jayanti, the nation observes a Dry Day to honor Gandhi’s beliefs and promote the values he held dear.