Beef. Porn. Cuss words (28 in all; 15 in Hindi and 13 in English) in films. BBC documentary India’s Daughter about the 16 December 2012 gang rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey. Bikini on a Goa beach. And even lingerie-clad mannequin. All of the above are/were banned or face a possible ban. And soon to be included on the banned list could be alcohol, if a grassroots campaign by women’s groups, vote bank politics and electoral arithmetic come together in a perfect astral alignment to put it beyond the pale.
By now, one is familiar with the contentious Gujarat model of development. Most recently, one was introduced to the Gujarat model of conducting legislative and non-legislative business when 25 Congress lawmakers were suspended from Parliament. As Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said afterwards, “Like in Gujarat, the Opposition members used to get suspended, similar thing is happening here (sic).” But there is one other Gujarat model, that of prohibition, however farcical it might be, which is finding takers in the unlikeliest of places, from Nitish Kumar’s Bihar to Jayalalithaa’s Tamil Nadu. Incidentally, both states are going to polls; Bihar later this year and Tamil Nadu next year. Farcical, because the foolproof model of delivering alcohol to one’s home in the dry state of Gujarat can challenge the efficiency of the famed dabbawalas of Mumbai!