Monday, November 16, 2015

Alcohol and MNF (excerpt from my article understanding Power)

Mesmerised with the talk of Mizo nationalism and champion of the people as claimed by the MNF, the people expected the ministry to embark on a journey of the fulfilment of their hope and aspirations. However, the new ministry had to sail on a raft tide of new political order. MNF acted as a symbol of Mizo sub-nationalism and their political ideology based on self determination (Nunthara 1996:218). This is what built the structures of power in MNF regime. With the passage of time, their leader Laldenga started to face a problem regarding the liquor permit and on internal conflict within the party. On liquor issue, the MNF while underground vehemently fought against the country liquor and IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor). The popular opinion during the time was that the social evils which were rampant in the days were caused by consumption of liquor as access to it was easily made available. At that time the Church was totally against the permit of Liquor. The MNF who came to power were expected to restrict or prohibit Liquor permit which was permitted during the Congress (I) regime in 1985. The war waged by the MNF against liquor from below the ground was still fresh in the minds of the public. The Chief Minister Laldenga publicly announced that he would consent public opinion on the policy to be adopted on the issue of permit for sale of liquor. On 16th April 1988 prominent social leaders, Village Council members of Aizawl town, representatives of the Young Mizo Association (YMA) and Mizo Hmeichhia Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) were invited to discuss in the issue of Liquor at Vanapa Hall. The invitees attended with the expectation that Zu (liquor) will be restricted by any means. On the contrary, the Chief Minister stressed on the need to obey law and order. The meeting resulted in general frustration and grumbling reaction of the audience, unhappy with Laldenga the crowd departed.

The MNF circulated a Letter to the Parents No V of 1988. The pamphlet showed that the MNF had collected views and opinions from some 3000 people with regard to the issue of permit for the sale of liquor. Their survey showed that majority of the people wanted a rigorous control be exercised on liquor instead of resorting to its prohibition. The church leaders met the Chief Minister in relation to the question on liquor and the government accused the church leaders on encroaching upon the jurisdiction of the Government. The ideology for which they were championed “For God and the Country” started deteriorating with the authoritarian attitude of their leader. The church leaders having left with no option gave up negotiating on the issue, leaving the matters to the will of God. When the MNF Ministry fell the Church leader characterised the event as “an answer by God to the prayers of the Church on the liquor issue”.

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