Nichitpur’s Fatal Addiction

O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil.

 – William Shakespeare

Our video today is on alcoholism. Through the example of his natal village in the Khunti district of Jharkhand, IndiaUnheard Community Correspondent Amit Topno demonstrates how a dependence on drink can transform individuals and destroy communities. Substance abuse is a fairly widespread area of concern. Video Volunteers decided to talk to Amit about the specific reasons behind his choice of topic. This is what he had to say: “Alcohol has been at the root of so many of our troubles here in Nichitpur. Every day I see it destroying lives around me, the reality is hard to escape. Alcoholism in our region is a primarily male disorder, even though the vendors are normally women. But it is a curse on everyone, regardless.” “I have seen people around me waste away and stop working. Many have died, and others have become hopelessly indebted to money lenders. These money lenders use alcohol as a means to enslave others and enrich themselves. They get people addicted, hand out extravagant loans, and then take away their land. It is the families that suffer.” “Growing up, I was witness to my own father’s alcoholism. It was always such a source of worry to us. Then, on the 3rd of January this year, he had an accident while in one of his inebriated spells and broke his leg. The bone had to be replaced, it was a very costly affair.” “In our Adivasi society, alcohol was traditionally considered holy. It would be furnished as an offering to gods and goddesses. It was also considered good for the health, and in those days, it actually was. Alcohol in our community was originally made with medicinal herbs, and people also drank it only in small quantities. They would come back after a day of hard work and have a little to help them sleep.” “Nowadays, it is produced on a large-scale commercial level, and it is adulterated with urea and other dangerous chemicals. Along with the instant hit, it causes instant harm. People also consume it in enormous quantities now. Our society has changed. The younger generation considers itself educated and no longer respects or listens to its elders. People do what they want, even if it is wrong. I am not against the consumption of alcohol in moderation, but I am terrified of the ruin it engenders in excess.”   Article by: Lara A. Chandni

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