‘Wine hath drowned more men than the sea’- Said Thomas Fuller.
Today on every small gullible street, we find a caged shop doing brisk business all through the day. A Festive look is wore on all special days …the huge parking of bikes, smoking chicken stalls outside, the hawkers selling cigarettes and eatables, pickle packets and fried peanuts. This scene is so common in Tamil Nadu around every Tasmac Shop. Common are also the sights of men, dressed half naked lying on the streets around, women shouting and grumbling outside the bars and hotels attached to the Tasmac shops and children searching for their drunken fathers in their usual visited shops.
This creates a huge havoc in the society and the normal lives of many families. Women are prone to domestic violence, financial upheavals and all forms of abuse. Men lose not only their senses, money and employment, but also the love and care of the families. It is not just men, but also women who are becoming vulnerable to this environment and become silent buyers at these shops. Tasmac shops which are a huge source of revenue to state government fail to close due to various political and economic considerations in our society. Women are both directly and indirectly impacted as the financial strain on the families is high and the burden of keeping the kitchen fires burning falls on them entirely. Education and moral upbringing of children becomes a mammoth challenge.
Unfortunately the existence of Tasmac shops impact the lower income groups to a greater extent. Women struggle to keep their sons and men out of the reach of liquor which destroys the happiness and normal existence of families. And the death associated to illicit liquor also impact women more than men, as the chances of widow-hood and abuse is more, which virtually sinks them in the society. Given the slightest chance of this habit, men of all kinds, be it a husband, son, son-in-law or a brother don’t hesitate to get into a Tasmac shop next street. Be it day or night, it doesn’t make them a difference. This creates a major block in relationships and broken marriages.
The increasing health related issues due to regular drinking also creates a burden on women due to inflated medical costs. All these result in suicides and panic amongst women and children. Youth are spoilt and in-disciplined due to the drinking habit and easy availability of liquor in local Tasmac shops. They also tend to steal money from their own homes and also lose on the quality time that need to be spent on education and colleges. Their concentration and health is at stake thus causing more worries to the mothers. Forcing such youth into the marital system only creates more domestic issues to handle, abuses that get unfolded and violence that creeps into the system. More stories of drunken driving, accidents and murders, violence and rapes have become the norm of the society today. The easy availability of cheap liquor affects not only the life and health of the individual but the whole family and the society at large.
In the long run, both men and women tend to forget their social and economic status and go into more deeper poverty situations as they are not able to control their lives on this spending, related health hazards, impact on the children and their education and women failing to manage their men to resist from visiting the nearest Tasmac shops every other day. The consequences are largely forgotten and misunderstood. People who are habituated to drinking and spending time in Tasmac shops/bars think that it creates camaraderie, companionship and makes them free from all troubles of life. What they fail to understand is that there is again another day where they have to face life. Women tend to feel the burden of this attitude more then men. Hard working laborers find this as a temporary solution from all their aches and issues.
Unfortunately, when these shops and its selling through out the day is legalized for the narrow way of revenue generation to the government, people think that there is no wrong in continuing visiting these shops regularly. There is no relief in sight for the women from the low income groups at least in the near future. The biggest challenge is to keep themselves away from the shops, getting victimized to the circumstances of abuse by the people who are regular visitors to the Tasmac shops and also to keep their focus in creating financial stability of their families.
What ever may be the circumstances, women need to focus on education of their children, create awareness of good and moral values in the families, monitor their men and caring; keep the cards open for them to understand the impact. Expecting the politically gained government to do good for us is like pushing the mountains to move. The least we can do is to cleanse the system by ourselves in the smallest ways possible within our line of control. Women need to be more strong and at the same time show love and affection without losing patience and tolerance till they are able to bring in change in the families for good.
The figures are so alarming that Tamil Nadu stands first in the Country in terms of volume of sales in Tasmac shops. Though the government claims that the increase in Tasmac shops has resulted in the less number of illicit liquor consumption deaths, black marketing and undue pricing of liquor in the markets, it is no where a sign of a better society. People drinking while driving is a significant menace.
Public disturbance in residential areas due to the availability of liquor in the Tasmac shops is a common compliant in every police station these days. Especially elder women living alone are subjected to abuse, robbery and murders by the drunken evils. Even in the most silent of the city locations, you can find street fights and men dragging women who question the liquor habit of the husbands. We also see the rise of selling of the domestic ware, things and certificates by men to raise money to buy liquor. This puts the women to most traumatic conditions as the men fail to find jobs and lose senses in the long run.
None of these women have the strength to fight the odds in the society. Neither do they have the financial strength nor the physical energy to control the men nor have normal lives. Women silently suffer day in day out tolerating all forms of violence and withdrawal. There are many mothers who go in search of their sons on the roads once the day slips into the nights and men don’t return home on time. There are many wives who are forced to sell their mangalsutras to feed their children in the absence of their husbands sharing the responsibilities and spending hours in the Tasmac shops. Increasing number of shops near to schools and colleges is also becoming a continuous nuisance as parents are struggling to keep their children away from this damaging habit.
We as a society should empower women and create a need for woman by a man and not be woman who wants a man to run their lives. This paradigm shift will make the men realize how important is for them to hold on to their lives and not lose it at the counters of the Tasmac shops.
After every night of cries, we have to arise fresh and show our smiles to this world. Instead, we have to stop the cries every night. Women need to be change agents by themselves. Control and monitor the habits of their children and men. Only then we can protect our own breed. Every problem will have a solution and it is in the women of Tamil Nadu to realize their potential and work hard towards a Tasmac/ Liquor free society. Men will do wrong and Women need to emerge strong from every situation of this kind. Road side protests, hunger strikes and suicides will not bring solutions. The existence of evil is for ever in the society in one form or the other. Including the existing of Tasmac’s next door. How we fight it and make the life the way we like it, is all in our hands. Be positive, stay focused and go forward is the only mantra for women of all strata’s of the society to move towards better life. TASMAC shops are just another issue that we women in Tamil Nadu can for sure handle and erase from the society once we stand united in this cause, create an awareness of the menace and become real fighters.
“Life knocked me down several times, it showed me things I never wanted to see. I experience sadness and pain along with failures. But one thing for sure, I always got up!”
Yes, be a strong woman. Fight for the cause of cleansing the system and Tasmac Shops issue that can be slowly but surely kicked out of our system in the long run
“Empower and Educate Women. Eradicate Liquor”.