Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Alcohol consumption is increasingly becoming popular in the country, in spite of these products being highly taxed in the hands of the governments. The ostensible reason for high taxes is attributed to governments 'desire' to curb consumption as it is considered a social evil as far as poor people are concerned and many deaths occurring with sickening regularity in different parts of the country due to consumption of illicit brooch, often unsafe and adulterated, due to the mismatch in the prices of 'lawful' liquor and its 'under ground' cousin. In contrast drinking amongst rich and the influential is considered fashionable and imperative for social networking and business promotion. One of the most flourishing industries in the country is liquor business monopolized by political and well connected classes who have the knack and wherewithal to wangle out lucrative licenses for operating liquor outlets like bars, parlors etc from the government. Of course alcohol in moderate quantities have positive effect on the health while over doses can damage the liver, especially when the consumers are nutrition stressed.

The lure for alcohol drives the industry to greater heights and most of the global liquor making and marketing giants have successful operations in India. The Indian liquor Barron Vijay Mallya is one of world's most successful industrialists who has used his financial clout to diversify into other areas like civil aviation with remarkable success. The present thinking to de-license vending of beers and wines will see further boost to this industry in the coming years. The relatively low per capita consumption of alcohol in the country at present offers further opportunities to the industry to look for dramatic growth ahead. India ranks 150th in per capita alcohol consumption with about 0.86 liter per year while Uganda tops the list with 19 liters!

There is a widespread impression that in order to be successful in business, alcohol has an inevitable role. Also being said is that drinking buddies have greater and stronger kinship. Business and other deals are more easily sealed over pegs of this inebriating drink, is also a prevalent view amongst the layman. But contrary to this impression is the revelation of a survey conducted by Assocham, the eminent body of business people, which
brought out the fact that majority of employers prefer to recruit teetotalers for their organizations. They feel that teetotalers are generally more efficient and productive while intake of alcoholic beverages adversely affect the efficiency, productivity and punctuality. Teetotalers of both sexes are highly prolific, creative and fastidious in work, achieving the targets set for them but they do not have the necessary rapport to strike business deals. Probably teetotalers who enter a company climbs the ladder with tremendous work out put and at a certain stage there could be transformation as responsible senior management professionals into alcohol-tolerant, though not necessarily alcohol-loving, go getter for the sake of the company. What is missing from the data is how many CEOs, with high business performances at stake, are teetotalers; probably very few!

Spirituality, the very anti-thesis of alcohol culture involves a whole series of activities centering around controlling of the mind to attain greater performance levels through practices like yoga, meditation, etc. There are many companies promoting this approach to ensure serenity, composure, patience and perseverance that are needed for business promotion through constructive dialogs and engagements. Many institutions offering condensed courses in yoga and meditation have senior management professionals from the business enrolled regularly reflecting the growing importance of this practice for better performance and employee heath.

In a lighter vein spirits and spirituality converge when one is intoxicated by too much of alcohol because the mind and body become supine, edging out all tensions and worries! This should not be construed, by any stretch of imagination as an endorsement for binging on alcohol. On the other hand one must realize that effect of alchol has an incremental negative health impact while spirituality will have an incremental positive effect on health and quality of life for the practioners.


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