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booze, banjo and bangalore

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tsubba's picture

background

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Curb on Bangalore nightlife slows businesses ndtv Restrictions on Bangalore's nightlife, is hitting the business of partying very hard. Earnings have dipped as live music, dancing and even loud recorded music is not allowed to mix with drinking. Shankar Bidari, police commissioner said, "There are 1 crore people in Bangalore city. Their welfare has to be looked into." Looking after the safety and welfare of Bangaloreans means to authorities early lights out - a strict ban ending the city's nightlife at 11:30 pm. As Page Three people head out of the city to Mysore and Manipal, business in Bangalore seems to be at an all time low. Currently the law says: * Music can only be played softly and in the background. * Music cannot be played loudly in a place that serves alcohol. But with no thumping music to dance to and nothing to drink along, party-goers are staying away from nightspots. Ashish Kothare, president Association of Pubs and Restaurants, Bars and Hotels said, "Business has been down close to 70-80 per cent. First we will have to stop advertising, slowly we will have to stop hiring and then the worst we will have to start laying off people." The dance ban has also directly affected Bangaloreans like Rohit Barker, a DJ at some of the most popular watering holes in the city. Barker says he has not had a single gig in the recent past. Bangaloreans who are trying to make a living out of the rapidly disappearing nightlife are fighting back in a campaign called Bengaluru Bleeding but authorities are firm that they will have to earn their money some other way.
Vasanth's picture

Roti, Khapda,Makhan aur Nightlife?

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Most young guy says we want night life in Bangalore as with the western life. The new commissioner has become a 'villain' on their part. But, I believe the cons are more than the pros.

I was about to become victim to a guy who had his 'nightlife' and driving a Santro on empty road in full josh was about to hit me from back when I was walking on the roadside. I was feeling at that time why Government is not controlling this since I was on the receiving part of it.

Do we think that a person who drinks will not drive ? They show their josh only in driving. Can a person in the group go as a driver to the pub with his friends and do not have drink.

There are many who are living with low income and the main person in that family become addicted to this night life and spend all the income on the nightlife, what will be his family's fate?

In the name of the night life, 'other illegal activities' are also carried out. Example is the recent catching hold of people taking drugs in a pub.

One person, a BPO worker of Mphasis in TV9 interview was suggesting the Government should give transportation to those who go for nightlife!!. Our Government is unable to give good transportation for the office goers, for nightlife do we need transporation offered by Government to enjoy 'night life'?

Rich of Bangalore is quoting different reasons for the need of night life and saying they cannot live without it. Roti, Khapda,Makhan aur Nightlife?

narayan82's picture

empty vessels make more noise!

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This whole night life is blown out of prop! I dont see it as such a big problem. Whose stopping people from partying at home or in a friends flat? The deadline has been extended to 1 AM in many places - do we really need drunk idiots walking down MG road at 3 AM? Drinking and driving is still taken too lightly. Most offenders get away with 2-3 K as a fine and continue going home driving. That is NOT enough. They have to be jailed for the night, and put on remand! There are two kinds of night party goers, those who dont Drink and Drive and others who say "My tolerance level is higher, and I can drive." The latter is the biggest danger. And one cannot stop them without stopping the other. So better stop both. Regarding transport for Nightlife Goers - it sounds absurd! Is it the cities duty to make sure they leave you at your doorstep if your drunk? Try a Cab for Gods SAKE! Lastly, rules cant apply to sections of society. Maybe the high paying, page 3 crowd can get home in a chauffer driven car, but the offendors are more likely to be from smaller local pubs and bars. You cant allow some people to party and some not too!
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
rs's picture

Drinking and Driving...

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There are two different issues here. One is Drinking and Driving - there is no question here - of course violators should be fined and arrested and the laws should be enforced. But this is just another thing that can be added to the litany of complaints one has about law enforcement. The other issue is nightlife - specifically the arbitrary banning of live music in bars. This simply makes no sense - just based on some antiquated rules and conservative mindset and some idiotic notion that listening to live music corrupts young minds. I wonder why the ban doesnt extend to a Carnatic music recital in a temple.... Finally, there is the 11.30 deadline. In the UK for years they had this - and in fact extended this only recently, a couple of years ago. The 11.30 deadline was disastrous. It didnt stop people from drinking - they started earlier and instead at 11.30 the streets were filled with energetic belligerent drunk people. Further, it encouraged binge drinking - people would order several drinks just before last call and then feel obliged to down them. If the deadline is later then it staggers the drunks - some will leave at 10, some 11 .... and so one wont have several drunk people on the streets at the same time. Admittedly we dont have as much of a drinking culture amongst the middle class in India - but its only a question of time. Another serious problem is not the legitimate drinking establishments - but these bars that crop up in liquor shops - quite often auto drivers drop in for a couple of quick ones before getting back to work and this is not exactly a good idea. I dont understand these people who say - it doesnt bother me so I dont care. I am reminded of the well known statement by someone shortly after world war two. `First they came for the Jews, and I didnt say anything as I was not a Jew. Then they came for the homosexuals and I didnt say anything as I was not a homosexual. Then they came for the Poles and I didnt say anything as I was not a Pole. Finally they came for me and there was no one left to say anything.' - While this may be a little over dramatic I think with the Vedike getting involved in moral policing - one can never say.
anusree.kailash's picture

i doubt anyone can really party late night at home...

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... cuz neighbors would object to loud music at night... :)

"Seek not to find who you are, but to determine who you want to be. Stop looking for a purpose as to why you are here. Create it. Life is not a process of discovery but a process of creation."

narayan82's picture

Rs....

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Continuing on your point... Maybe we can arrive at solution by negotiation. Probably the government belives that by cutting down night life, they can cut down crime. True to an extent but then if we impose 24 hours curfew the crime rate can be even lower! Why not allow late night partying on Fridays, Sat and Sundays? Mon-Thu can have the 11 30 rule and weekends is when most of the drinking happens! As per drinking & driving, I think the problem should be tackled at the origin. Policeman on Law enforces can be located at every pub/parking lot (like a bouncer) who tests anyone before driving. Catching them along the way is risky as they have already been driving. The other problem is how to catch them. The idea of smelling ones breath is repulsive to the driver and the cop. The machines are supposed to have disposable pipes, but usually they just wipe it with thier hands and ask you to blow! There has to be a hygenic way of doing this.
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
rs's picture

Hi Yeah, sure - one doesnt

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Hi Yeah, sure - one doesnt need bars to be open till late every night - perhaps Thurs-Fri-Sat. This notion that cutting down on night life will reduce crime is absurd. Crime in Bangalore has increased because of increasing disparity of wealth and the simple fact that there are more people here. I'm not really sure if they look at Crime rate - they just quote absolute numbers. Of course the `Haa maadi' thing is ridiculous. I think most people would be happy to take an auto back if it exists and they dont gouge you. Perhaps there could be some agreement with some of these auto or cab companies to provide the service for a reasonable fee - like twice the meter. But in any case I dont see what this has to do with Live music. What really bothers me is that the Vedike seem to have declared themselves to being the arbiters of Indian Culture and somehow the police are silent on this issue. The recent attack on the rave party is a case in point - who are they to decide what people do in the privacy of their home or a hired place. Its a slippery slope from what the KRV seems to be doing to the more recent activities of the MNS and Shiv Sena in Mumbai - beating up outsiders, threatening schools etc.
silkboard's picture

Making good of 'energy' Vedike has

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Since Vedike has been brought in the picture on this thread, I wanted to ask if there ways to channel their energy in more impactful ways. Think of these, What if:

  • every driver jumping red signals was taunted as non-kannadiga
  • every cop caught taking bribe was presented a red and gold muffler
  • every person chucking trash on the road started fearing Vedike
  • etc etc

If Vedike's future goal is regular politics, they may think above is not a good line to pursue. But if they are in to create a vibrant local organization, they may be immortalized if they did some of above.

Even if they have political ambitions, doing above is going to win them supporters, at least in Bangalore, where the middle class numbers are significant.

blrpraj's picture

drinking and driving

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Drinking and driving is a criminal offence and should not be taken lightly. Stiff fine and mandatory community service for the 1st offence is probably the way to go. A repeat offence should result in license suspension and enrollment in some kind of training session on effects of drinking&driving. 3rd offence should result in vehicle impoundment and 5 year's imprisonment.

Although this is from 2000 this link gives a fair idea of drunken driving laws and punishments from other countries -

http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/research/...

Vasanth's picture

Drinking is injurious to health !!!

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Everyone knows that drinking is injurious to health. Still they drink. Problem really occurs after 50+ . Drunken driving will prepone it in a different way.

If we speak to a drinker, he will never accept this, rather will say it will keep the body warm during cold etc etc. So is the nightlife which goes in parallel.

Crime and theft is different. It should not be confused. Chances of crime is more in drunken state compared to normal state. A normal person if drunken may not involve in a crime (probably just with accident), but a criminal minded person can commit crime during this state.  I myself have seen drunken people behaving so badly with women on the MG Road/Brigade Road side especially during New Year. They just loose control. I have seen the otherside of nightlife personally. Someone like Dr.ASJ would be the right person to comment on this.

tsubba's picture

late night drinking enforcement problem

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there are studies that show that in india they is a high tendency to binge. in the west liberty to drink, comes with a big unwavering stick. they dont care that you go and kill youselves, what they are concerned with is you killing others. if caught the licence is immediately suspended. if you injure somebody you are charged with vehicular assault or something and if you kill somebody you are charged with murder. the point is the penalty is immediate and heavy and irrevocable. plus if somebody sustains injury as a result of your drunk driving, he can sue you for a pretty penny, for damages and loss of pay incovenience and other sundry reasons. inspite of all this, in 2005 40% of all road fatalities in US were DUI. 17,000 deaths. 24% was driver fatality. 16% some random guy on the street. this enforcement in the west comes at a heavy cost. evidentiary equipment, screening equipment, legal fees, manpower, training, education, jail, everything costs money, lots and lots of money. we all also know that we are no where near that enforcement levels in india, forget resources. now lets come to bangalore. Blr has the highest number of drunken driving cases in India. 44% of crash two wheeler drivers seeking medical attention were under the influence of alcohol. During weekends there is 12-20% increase in accident death probability. In 2005 there were 7575 accidents in blr. And 833 traffic deaths. 5899 injuries. of the 833, 348 who died were pedestrians. about 3000 pedestrian injuries. cars account for over 30% of the accidents, two-wheelers about 20%, autos about 15%. this despite the fact that cars & autos for about 5% each of the traffic, two-wheelers about 30% of traffic. The enforcement density in blr is a dismal 0.29 per kilometer length of the road. Now, lets come to compensation. Govt reports value the cost of road death to Rs 210554 (1990 prices) and Rs 535489 (1999). the maximum ever paid is 4 crore. that i am sure must have been some big shot victim. oh! btw did i meantion? 36% of all accidents occur in between 6pm and 6 am. we dont live in the west. we live where we live with our own constraints. tendency to binge drink + nonexistent enforcement ecosystem + bad civic/traffic sense = quit drinking at 11:30. if i am not wrong, even london imposed such bans, because of too many binge drinkers. source of stats: Black City, Bangalore
murali772's picture

Archaic laws

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To prevent drunken driving, why close the bars at just 11.30 PM? Why not re-introduce prohibition? Like-wise to prevent death by cancer why not ban cigarettes altogether? And, so on. There are countries which enforce such rules. Do we want to follow them? In this regard, I found the following excerpts from the TOI editorial very relevant.

The police are well within their rights to shut down places that are operating without valid licences - as, indeed, they are to enforce the Excise Act. The problem is with the legislation itself.

Formulated in 1965, it is clearly an archaic law that is incapable of responding to current situations and needs to be updated. It is ridiculous that, in the 21st century, there exists a law that dictates where women can dance.

That such laws persist in this country, particularly in a city considered to be India's window to the world, betrays the antiquated mentality of our legislators. It also displays the tensions in a male-dominated society where women are increasingly beginning to assert their independence.

With more women entering the workforce and establishing independent means of income, there is bound to be resistance from a patriarchal society that is unable to come to terms with change. Now that more women inhabit public spaces, authorities have responded by attempting to impose male moral codes on women to dictate their behaviour.

At a time when India is opening up to the world is this the image - of intolerance and illiberality - that we want to put out of a premier Indian city? As India plugs into the global economy, our country is going to undergo profound changes.

Globalisation is not just bringing in foreign capital, it's also about a global sensibility and ethos. Our lawmakers have to learn to deal with the changes that greater openness will bring. This includes letting women decide where they can dance.

The government's job is not to sit in moral judgment over what citizens do in their free time. For more, click on
http://timesofindia.india...

Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
amaku's picture

Well said Mr. Rao!!

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You are absolutely correct when you say that the it's not the govt.'s (police) job to sit in moral judgement of it's citizens.

Excessive drinking is a universal societal problem, and it's not just restricted to Bangalore or India. Dancing is not. Maybe it is in the eyes of the religious police, but to equate nightclubs (where both drinking and dancing take place) with the criminal element is, to me, beyond absurd.

Simple-minded solutions to drinking, such as prohibition, closing bars at 11 pm, etc. do not work. History has shown us that the only thing they achieve is to drive them underground. Believe me, the last thing we need to do is to fuel another underground economy.

In my mind, there is no perfect solution to the very real problem of drinking and driving, at least I don't know of any that have eliminated it. The best we can do is to Educate the public, Enact tough laws, and strict impartial Enforcement.

Archaic, Antiquated, Draconian laws that legislate morality are doomed for failure from the start.

--amaku

nikunj946's picture

Freedom?

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I have no problem obeying rules, as long as they are rational and necessary. I also believe in curing causes, and not symptoms.

The facts here are - we have inadequate road networks, a virtually non-existant public transport system, inadequate police force, and poor law enforcement especially on the road. The 11:30 deadline merely tries to eliminate a visible problem - drunk driving - rather than any of the root causes. Such solutions can not work long-term.

I work hard through the week, usually till 9 pm. On Weekends, I have household tasks to perform during the day. If I want to go to a leisure establishment late in the evening and enjoy myself, I believe I'm entitled to that as a tax-paying, law-abiding citizen of a free country. This 1130 rule violates my freedom. Why should I have to pay this price for the administration's inadequacies?

And to people who talk about pub culture not being 'Indian' - what basis and what right do you have to decide what others should do? You can have your own moral standards, and I'm entitled to mine. The law should not favor either - it has to be fair and considerate to all. You should not favor an unfair, draconian law - that covers up real problems and inadequacies of the administration - at the cost of our liberty - simply because it indirectly enforces behaviour you morally approve of.

By the way - if 1130 pm really is such a good idea - why is it not being adopted by other cities? And why do we still have more accidents?

asj's picture

There is no such thing as 100% freedom

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Worldwide stats report the same - alcohol and drugs don't mix well with driving. Its simple - we are different from animals in having a frontal lobe that regulates rage, fear and instincts (imagine living on these three alone). Alcohol takes out the frontal lobe (our CEO) and what is left is 'an animal within us - aka wild horse without reins'.

Every country has restrictions in some form, these change with time (and not just due to morals - it can be economics as tax on booze rakes in money for many).

I have seen the dark side of this all. Broken skulls, amputed limbs, dead bodies brought to hospitals (on hat-gadi). In the West we also see young women abused and the aftermath of it.

Restrictions if anything protect freedom. Its a tool to ensure that freedom is not abused. Its not about one individual's right taken away to make merry beyond 2330 (or what ever time it may be in other cities), its about safe gaurding majority of the populations freedom and right to be safe.

Finally, its not an adminstrative problem at all. Its a peoples problem, a social one solved by people. If inadequate road networks, a virtually non-existant public transport system, inadequate police force, and poor law enforcement especially on the road was the root of the problem - Western Countries like UK would not have as many deaths, accidents et al at all. In fact alcohol is one of the lergest contrbutors to anti-social acts of random violence, thefts, accidents in Western society which have best of infrastructures.

After a hard days work (which I am sure everyone on this forum has) we all want to unwind, and booze may well play its role, but rules-regulations-restrictions cannot be not respected. Its simple, if you plan to booze, take a rickshaw (driving because public transport is not there is no excuse) or a lift from someone who has not been drinking.

ASJ

blrsri's picture

miss old blr

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circa 1996-97

IT companies were having interview/discussions to be held in pubs over beer

School kids shoving their ties infront of the bouncers, entering a pub at 4PM for a 'regular'

Sitting on MG road with a chilled K* waiting for the new year

Good muzic..not always loud..likes of doors and floyd

..most times it was all in 'moderation' as Tony Sinclair would say..signs of maturity!?

fast forward now:

MP's son goes trigger happy shooting rounds from a gun at 11!

Overly drunk hooligans(outsiders?) spoiling peace everywhere...kind of celebrating their new found independence!

Rave parties with overdose of everything!

signs of degeneration?!

 

s_yajaman's picture

BlrSri - not right to bring back old memories :)

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Blrsri,

You brought back a lot of memories.  I have always been a teetotaler and hence don't know about the quality of beer, etc.  But Pecos (Rest House Road?) was a favourite with good music (not too loud).  Black Cadillac (St.Marks Road?) was also great - you could talk and be heard without shouting your lungs out.  Not too fond of NASA - too kitschy for my liking.  The boulevard on MG Road was great to walk on. 

So you are a Floyd and Doors fan too?  We should catch up. 

other favourites to visit - The Rice Bowl on Brigade Road (later shut down), Butter Sponge (North Road), Vidhyarthi Bhavan, Ganesh Juice Center (Gandhi Bazaar).

I am a bit older than the "having interviews over beer". 

But I agree with you - even if we sound like two oldies talking about "the good old days".  Bangalore was a live and let live place.  In BMSCE we had groups that used to talk in Kannada, English and Hindi.  No one felt his language was insulted in anyway.

Srivathsa

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

nikunj946's picture

How about some, conditional freedom?

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ASJ

I agree with a lot of what you've said. No one is condoning DUI or any kind of irresponsible behaviour. And certainly, there is a need for restrictions. But, isn't this being too harsh on some of us, without trying other options?

On a typical Friday/Saturday night, the number of people enjoying 'nightlife' is certainly more than 5,000 and could probably be much higher. Do all of them deserve these 'restrictions' because a few cause some damage sometimes? Not all of them are 'horses without reins'. If they were, you wouldn't see a large number of people, and women, from decent families, visit these places.

Most of us are responsible citizens only looking to let our hair down for a bit. Most of us DO take rickshaws (even at the extortionist rates quoted), or ensure there is someone  not drinking, so he/she can drive on the way back. In case nobody realized, we care about our own safety also! And there is a lot of breath-checking at unavoidable road junctions by the police, which works as a deterrent.

If DUI is such a big problem, I'm sure simpler solutions can be found:

The clubs can tie-up with cab companies to ensure their guests can get home safe, without paying ridiculously high fares. (Here's the irony - safe, reliable, affordable transport for women is a major reason why people take their own cars even when though they know they will be drinking, and risking 'public safety' on the way back)

Most clubs offer valet parking services. They could use breathalyzers to check the driver's 'fitness' before returning his car keys. If not in a suitable state, they could arrange paid assistance. In the worst case, they could inform the police. If this is enforced strictly for a period, visitors will fall in line.

I'm just thinking out loud, but I'm sure better solutions can be found, than the current approach - which to me appears like using a road-roller to crack a walnut. Sure, it works, but is a crude solution that hurts many like me.

Finally, the working class respects the law, or at least fears it. The most famous and blatant cases of accidents involve celebrities or politicians' family members who consider themselves 'above the law', and are the most reckless. They could easily get drunk at private parties (they probably do) and endanger public safety driving later. These restrictions don't bother them as much as they hurt the majority - ordinary professionals like us.

I feel, in stead of condemning everyone who wants 'nightlife' as 'hooligans' and taking away their freedom, we should focus on the real problems and try to find solutions that would be acceptable to all. If we sincerely try, it shouldn't be that difficult.

nikunj946's picture

For the nostalgic

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Some facts and quotes about Bangalore today:

It was somewhere between the interview with the Indian entrepreneur who wanted to do my taxes from Bangalore and the one who wanted to write my software from Bangalore, and the one who wanted to read my x-rays from Bangalore, and the one who wanted to trace my lost luggage from Bangalore...I was realizing that, while I had been sleeping, while I had been off covering the 9/11 wars, I had missed something really fundamental in this globalization story. I had lost the thread, and I found it in Bangalore ~ Thomas Friedman, "The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century".

Bangalore is a brand the world identifies India with. It is also the single biggest reason why India has become such a hot investment destination. ~ Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India. Union Budget 2005-2006, 12 Feb. 2006

Bangalore's Rs 260,260 crore (US$ 100 billion) economy (2002–03 Net District Income) makes it a major economic centre in India. With an economic growth of 10.3%, Bangalore is the fastest growing major metropolis in India. Additionally, Bangalore is India's fourth largest fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) market. The city is the third largest hub for high net worth individuals and is home to over 10,000 dollar millionaires and about 60,000 super-rich people who have an investable surplus of Rs. 4.5 crore (US$ 1 million) and Rs. 50 lakh (US$ 116,000) respectively.

Bangalore is called the Silicon Valley of India because of the large number of Information Technology companies located in the city which contributed 33% of India's Rs. 144,214 crore (US$ 33 billion) IT exports in 2006-07.

Bangalore is a hub for biotechnology related industry in India and in the year 2005, around 47% of the 265 biotechnology companies in India were located here; including Biocon, India's largest biotechnology company.

Kannadigas formed about 39% of the population, by some estimates, while non-Kannadigas form the rest of the population. The cosmopolitan nature of the city has caused people from other states of India to migrate to Bangalore and settle there

I understand and respect how you feel about 'the way things were'. But, by and large, we could agree we are on the way forward, and could take a lot of pride in many of the changes witnessed in the last decade-or-so. Bangalore leads India's march to superpower status. Memories can be difficult to let go off, but objectively, we should embrace this change.

Now, as we work with people in the West, become integrated with the Global economy, adopt Western business practices and organization culture for economic progress, some changes in our culture and lifestyles are inevitable. Working 100-hour weeks creates a lot of stress, and people should be allowed to deal with it as they wish, as long as they do not intentionally create unavoidable problems for others.

There are some costs to the progress we've made. We should accept them and deal with it. In fact, I feel many of us desired such culture and lifestyle, and the reason you see it now is not just Western influence, but rising incomes. It is unreasonable to expect some things (selectively) not to change, while everything else does. We need to be more open-minded about it.

Vasanth's picture

Question is what we gain from Nightlife?

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I am really surprised to see the comments like :

On a typical Friday/Saturday night, the number of people enjoying 'nightlife' is certainly more than 5,000 and could probably be much higher. Do all of them deserve these 'restrictions' because a few cause some damage sometimes? Not all of them are 'horses without reins'. If they were, you wouldn't see a large number of people, and women, from decent families, visit these places.

It is the few people's perception and promotion of nightlife may cause so many fatalities in not so controlled environment. How much do we spend on entering pubs, imported alcohol and some side food on friday nights.

If on the other hand, the same 'Guys and Gals' can spend the same amount in a say orphanage with food from the neighbouring bakery and enjoy with orphan kids, how good will it be. There are so many families in Bangalore whose monthly income will not be as much as the expenditure on nightlife for one night.

One has to question himself what am I gaining from this Nightlife after all the hype? Does a drink solve all my problems - It just hides it for a while and gives a new problem. Daddy and mummy will be upset, wife will be upset, cannot face the kid directly and has to hide the smell - problems are aplenty.

I would say everyone who wants nightlife question yourself what am I gaining from this???

nikunj946's picture

Question not relevant

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Vasanth

For starters, why some of us need 'nightlife' and what we gain from it - are not questions we must answer in a free country. However, to prove a point, let's try and extend your reasoning a bit:

  • Why do we need any form of entertainment at all? Why not just ban all cinema? Most of the movies produced are flopsand together lose 100s of Crores of Rupees which could be utilized better.
  • Similarly, why not ban theatre? Sports events? TV? (apart from direct costs to 'consumers', so much of potentially productive time is wasted).
  • Let's ban all premium products (using your logic - 8,000 rupees - the cost of a pair of Levi's jeans - can fund education of a child for ~8 months. And why should anyone be free to spend Rs. 1 lakh on an LCD TV?)

I could go on and on with the above extrapolation, but I hope it's not necessary. The point is this - as citizen of a free country, we should be free to make our own choices, as long as it does not hurt others. So, if I choose to go to a leisure establishment late at night, and do not break any laws, I believe that choice should be quitely tolerated, if not respected by others. Nobody has a right to question why I'm doing it, or to pass any kind of moral judgment. That's what 'freedom' means.

Secondly, I've got the impression from many of the comments here - that you all believe that people seeking nightlife or pub/party culture are stupid, irresponsible, dangerous and few in number. Case in point being your suggestion that 'we question ourselves and what we gain' - a question that reeks of a patronizing attitude and shows no respect for our intelligence. This is blatantly unfair, and based on many assumptions that I can tell you, having seen the reality, are simply wrong.

Also, I'm extremely annoyed by the repeated assumption that 'only a few want nightlife'. That's just not correct. Please take a reality check - A 1-minute net search will tell you how many leisure establishments we are talking about. And one vist will show you how many visitors each of them has (and also show you that calling them 'horses without reins' is very unfair).

More than 5,000 on any single night is definitely NOT a few, given that only some of the people who want 'nightlife' would be out on any single night. Are we living in a country where such a sizeable group can be denied their freedom to be entertained? Are we living in a country where a majority wants to deny that such a sizeable group even exits?

My father risked his life in battle in Kargil. I have degress from IIT and IIM, and am among the few of my peers to stay back in India. I also do my bit to support the education of underpriviledged children, and any other social cause I find worthwhile. I am deeply hurt and disappointed - to the extent of questioning my beliefs and dreams of 'India' - when I come across the kind of regressive and narrow-minded attitudes I've seen many times on this forum.

I know it's probably a lost cause - but let me try again to clear some of your misconceptions. Most of the people who can afford, and feel a desire, to visit legitimate 'nightclubs', are financially secure, well-educated and professionally successful. Most of us are responsible citizens. But if you still can't believe we would behave ourselves, think about this, from a purely selfish viewpoint: we have worked hard to reach where we have and we would not just throw it away in a drunken bout, nor risk a jail-term, or our own life-and-limb (and vehicle) by driving when we aren't in control.

The legit nightclubs also have their reputations to maintain, and employ bouncers and managers to ensure there is no serious misbehaviour. Cops should, and mostly do, monitor these establishments and the roads around them when people leave at the end of their evening-out. And if someone had issues at home because of an alcoholic habit, I don't see how the 1130 deadline - on expensive establishments - can really change that.

Admittedly, allowing people to drink and party till late does offer some law-and-order challenges. But solutions must be found in terms of better administration and effective enforcement of reasonable rules and laws. I made a couple of suggestions in this regard in my earlier post, and some of my suggestions do not even involve the police (if we must accept their corruption/incompetence being beyond repair).

A step in the Taliban direction is definitely NOT the solution.

murali772's picture

no moralising, please!

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Vasanth

I quite agree with Nikunj. We could do without moralising here, please! 

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
asj's picture

This is a tricky one

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When it comes to booze and its regulation, it is multi-factorial matter influenced by politics, human rights, economics, social and moral values. Ultimately it is for a given society to find a solution that not just suits them but retain some balance between these factors.

Take UK, a free society by all standards, yet until 2005 pubs shut at 11pm. Then the ;aw changed, pub owners could apply to extend hours (even all night long if they wanted to). The reality is that 3 years later, pub on average have extended their time by just 30 minutes. In fact many are closing down -what a paradox? Wonder why? The UK Govt at same time has raised duties to a point where spending in pubs hurts pockets. People rather prefer to buy from huge supermarkets that can offer significnatly lower prices given their bulk operations.

Freedom was never UN-Conditional anywhere. Why else will each country have a constitution and penal system? What would one rather prefer - Bangalore becomes a free society like Amsterdam where cannabis is available in coffee shops and window girls and prostittution is rife. Where does one draw a line?

God knows how hard resident doctors work in public hospitals. I have put in 80 hours a week for years. All my colleagues did. 90% of us relaxed by being with our families and a small minority needed to booze. Is 5k a big number? Bangalore's population is over 7 million - by all accounts this is hardly a fraction. In a democracy should these 7 million people and their views on the matter prevail or the few thousand who wish to party all night?

Even a man pulling a handcart works as many hours as an IITian or a white collared professional, so do house wives. This does not send 90% of our people to pubs every weekend or does it?

To say that 90% who wish for a safer society are imposing restriction on a few thousand and equating it with 'Talibanisation' is rather strong and crude. In many ways it is disrespectful of those who gaurd our freedom at our boundaries as well as the average Indian who hopes to flourish in our free society. Indeed without these protectivfe forces, our women would now be out of education and there would be no music, cinema or booze (as per Talibans ideology).

I suggest we respect the freedom we enjoy and use it responsibly make the most of it.

ASJ

nikunj946's picture

It's not that tricky...

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ASJ

Couple of gaping holes in you arguments:

1. Comparison vs. UK is not 'apple-to-apple' at all. There, people have a very good work-life balance in general. Few work beyond 5 pm, or 6 at the most. Then they can head off to their pubs or wherever they want. This means by 11pm- they've already spent ~4 hours there, so the deadline is not really restrictive. Shopping malls, stores and other commercial establishments also close between 7 and 8 pm there. In fact, since they have enough time for all this during the week, most establishments remain closed on Sundays.

In Bangalore, we work till much later everyday. A lot of us working 'days', finish at 8pm. Those working 'evening' shifts finish much later. We go out later in the evening, and do that only on weekends. To say 11pm is OK for bangalore 'coz it was OK for London, is simply ignoring all these ground realities. It's no better than suggesting all our shops and malls should close by 8pm, and remain closed on Sundays. I'm sure everyone would realize that can not work here.

2. The %ages and numbers you mentioned are skewed to the extent of being rhetorical.

For one, I said >5k on any SINGLE night. This is a very conservative estimate, and is only a small sub-set of the total set of people who want the deadline extended. In fact, just the number of employees at establishments suffering due to this deadline probably exceeds 5k. So, the number of people who's interests I'm talking about is much, much higher. If it wasn't, you wouldn't see TOI running a campaign about it. (Pl read TV Mohandas Pai's views on this, published on Page 1 of Bangalore Times yesterday.)

And to say that 90% are in favor of the deadline is also extremely inaccurate. Of the 7 Mio ppl in Bangalore, about 1/2 lie outside the 18-40 age bracket, and probably don't relate to the issue. Of the others, I'd say another 30-40%, at least, can not afford these establishments, and again, don't relate to the issue. That does not mean all of them are opposed to deadline extension with good reasons. Do not assume 'no opinion' is the same as 'opposition'. Even if it is 'opposition' - but without 'knowledge' - that's unfair and shouldn't count.

A proper, fair analysis is likely to reveal the numbers on both sides of the fence to be even, and not 90% vs. 5k as you suggest.

Lastly, the reason I equated this with Talibanisation - is that essentially it is a case of some people conveniently enforcing their moral standards on others. I'm simply not prepared to accept the argument that allowing people to party beyond 1130pm makes them 'horses without reins' and a danger to public safety that can not be managed. I've seen the crowds, (in fact, I'm often a part of them), and this is just a bloody unfair judgment passed without examining realities and trying to work out 'win-win' solutions. Other cities in India - and even Karnataka - do not have such suffocating restrictions. And we in Bangalore finish our work and go out later in the evening than people in other cities. Yet, we are made scapegoats here, because it is convenient for the powers-that-be, and other citizens don't know and don't care to understand us. The lack of empathy is shameful.

With a virtually non-existant nightlife, we still have one of the highest urban crime rates in the country. So, nightlife is clearly NOT the root cause of the problem. Insufficient and lethargic law enforcement is.

And I request anyone supporting the deadline/bans in later comments - to provide solid facts, figures and logic. Arguments based on assumptions and 'morals' are completely pointless.

idontspam's picture

A clarification

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I heard Shankar Bidri mention the ohter night on a TV show that the ban/prohibition was specifically restricted to having a dance floor in a place that serves liquor. He was fine with dancing in itself if the place did not have a liquor license and also with recorded music in a place that served liquor.

So I believe there are multiple issues,

1. Serving liquor beyond 11:30

2. Keeping eating places open beyond 11:30

3. Having dance floors and discos open beyond 11:30

4. Having dance floors and discos with liquor open for whatever time.

If I am not wrong only 4 is not being allowed now regardless of what time of the day, but I thought 1 was anyway not allowed, and I am not sure there exists any place with 3 because thats where they want to get to.

asj's picture

Misread, Misunderstood and Misrepresented

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Misread, Misunderstood and Misrepresented - that's how I feel right now.

Lets take stock of the thread to see which bits I am referring to.

My anology of horse without reins - this was my way of explaining a medical fact (not fiction nor a rhetoric) of what in medical jargon will be called cortical disinhibition. There was no finger pointing. Alcohol in smallest amounts can affect attention a frontal lobe attribute - hence the advise is not to drive even after drinking within so called legal limits.

Now apple for apple - Read carefully (again and again if need be). My mention of UK was to explain why alcohol is a problem pertaining to economics, politics, social and moral values. In this case I exemplified the political and economic aspects.

I did compare apple for apple - the handcart puller, the housewife, the resident doctors and many in all walks of life work as hard as an IITian. As for numbers, I took what was mentioned in the thread. One can try to use the best estimate, how about a 100,000 partying each night - its still a fraction is it not?

Now, Taliban - a rhetoric which was introduced in the thread - but not by me - its only fair that I get to respond to it (my freedom).

As for who is imposing on whom - its open to judgement, the number of people partying each night says a lot more than anything on this thread.

Facts - I know for sure that even in not so hard working UK (as suggested) booze accounts for disproportionate number of accidents, crime and attendance at casualty departments. Amazing, if anything there is no link between hard work, letting down hair by drinking booze.

Now, I am happy one can get to drink and merry until 1130pm. Those who are not and want it extended - its for them to put up a case.

So the onus of finding hard facts and figures lies on those who want extended hours imposed on larger majority (and not other way round).

ASJ

 

silkboard's picture

Listened to Shankar Bidari on the subject last night

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Mr Murali Rao and myself got a chance to listen to our commissioner Shankar Bidari last night. He talked on this subject as well as a lot other things. Will log a detailed post in a bit. But I sense that this ban issue may be getting overplayed a bit. It sounded like the restriction is as simple as this - can't dance and serve liquor in the same room/hall. Its kind of like its in Mumbai (someone already commented above). Mr Bidari had some interesting data to share about the 60-70 live music bars, their "economy", and narrated the whole sequence of events that eventually lead to restricted licensing norms for Discos and other places as well and not just the live music/dance bars.

Sorry for the short comment - have lot more to write after hearing him speak for over an hour. And BTW, I managed to get hold of his speech itself, just asked him for it, and he was nice enough to hand it over. It has lots of data about policing in Bangalore from 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 till July. We are talking about 20 pages worth of tables and stats - will scan them over the weekend.

asj's picture

Keenly await the police perspective

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SB, do post the details to appropriately inform this thread.

I said above, figures are missing in this thread, but I overlooked the ones mentioned by TS (those figures are sufficient enough to consider restrictions).

The police perspective is vital - Last year I was in a public meeting where Pune's then commissioner Umranikar was asked about penalties for driving offenders. He said, our laws are so ancient, they still have to penalise with Rs 100 (price of a coffee and a bit more now a days) only. It hardly has an impact. They hence try to be creative - take the license away, get them to spend a day at the HQ/lower courts to get it back (idea being to cause sufficient discomfort to get the person to think twice before offending again).

ASJ

tsubba's picture

penalties

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doc, our guys have previously met the ACP Mr. Praveen Sood and that point about 100 rupees came up even then... check this post it might help to understand what people are trying to say here: the basic point is people think this move is paternalistic. somebody(state) telling me and imposing behaviour restrictions on me based on what they think is good for me. i had the oppurtunity to ask a professor about this: i asked him if the ban on driving while drunk was paternalistic. he response was an emphatic no. because, driving while drunk has consequences for others. the state does not ban driving while drunk, to reform us, or for our own safety, but to prevent us from causing harm to others. as you say, we very often equate freedom with anarchy. jiske man mein jo aaye woh karein - mansigg bandaddu maaDodu. no, freedom is not that, freedom is the ability to form our own covenant, our own set of restrictions to live by in a fair and orderly fashion. this driving while drunk thing is especially problematic bcoz, one of the effects of being drunk is the break down of fears that operate normally. this can lead to ghalib-esque poetry. but on the end of the spectrum, we tend to underestimate the danger to our own personal safety and danger of own actions on others.
nikunj946's picture

Lets focus...

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I have to admit - reading this thread has made me more aware, than I earlier was, of the DUI problem. I agree with all of you, that this problem deserves more attention. However, my disagreements stem from my belief that throttling nightlife to this extent is neither the ideal solution, nor is it fair to a large number of ordinary citizens. I'll try and explain why, please read on...

First, a fact. I don't know where this '100 rupee fine' idea originates, but the law is this:

1. Under section 185 Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, the concentration of alcohol has been specified maximum as 30 mg/100 ml of blood detected in a test by a breath analyzer.
2. The penalty for the first offence is with imprisonment for a term upto 6 months or with fine upto Rs.2,000/- or both. 
3. For second or subsequent offence (if committed within 3 years of the commission of previous similar offence), with imprisonment for a term upto 2 years or with fine upto Rs.3000/- or with both.

Strict enforcement of this law - with rigorous checking of drivers' breath around establishments serving alcohol and imposition of the penalties including jail terms - will surely make for a very effective deterrent. For sure, people's judgment is not the best when drunk. But we are talking about the possibility of a significant fine, a jail-term, (and the possibility of being denied a Visa to a Western country due to a recorded DUI offence - something especially relevant to people in Bangalore). I'm sure it would take more than a couple of drinks for everyone in a group to completely lose their minds and take this chance.

The reality is - checking isn't rigorous. Even if caught, you can simply grease the cop's plam with Rs. 50 and drive away. I feel our energies would be better utilized against THIS problem, than in arguing over limits of freedom. If anyone is serious about tackling this, please let me know and we'll try and do something together.

The case for extending the 1130 deadline is also simple:

1. The clientele for the establishments in question, typically, does not operate on a traditional body clock, due to longer and later working hours. Crowds start building up only after 930 pm or so. And they are dispersed by 1130, giving them almost no time to enjoy themselves (and please, lets not argue if they have a need or right to enjoy themselves, if this is still a free country)

2. No other city, definitely none of the 'metros', has such tight restrictions. But they manage well enough. Why must Bangalore kill it's nightlife options?

As a sidenote, examination of data reveals that most DUI-related accidents occur between 6 and 10 pm. This can NOT be related to discs/pubs, because their crowd typically leaves after 1030 pm. Logically, the high accident rate is due to a combination of peak traffic and DUI. So, wouldn't forcing establishments to open after peak traffic hours (say, 10 pm) make for better legislation rather than forcing them to close early? Cities like Singapore limit nightlife to specific zones. Why don't we try a similar approach, with either zones or timings?

In an earlier comment, I also suggested making the clubs more accountable for their guests' behaviour, and providing viable transport alternatives to self-driven vehicles for inebriated people. Simple solutions to many problems can be worked out if an honest effort is made, and I'm willing to participate if a working group is formed. (That was why I joined this forum, and specifically this discussion)

I did adopt a more confrontational approach in some earlier comments, because I was very disappointed by judgmental attitude and the lack of empathy displayed by some people here. Leisure establishments play a key role in enabling stress-relief and social interaction for many young working people in Bangalore (like myself). By and large, we are sensible, responsible citizens, and not the reckless, dangerous monsters we are being made out to be. Allowing us a little more freedom does not hurt the so-called 'majority', if proper checks and controls are put in place and work like they are supposed to. Making us scapegoats by ignoring our wishes and restricting us to unreasonable extents is regressive and unfair. We - the people of India (and Bangalore in particular) - can, and should do better than that.

Yes, alcoholism and DUI are problems. Lets examine them fully and objectively, and work towards proper, fair solutions, rather than making a scapegoat of all nightlife.

(ASJ - I STILL disagree with most of what you've said. As an example, 'we work harder' is not my own ill-informed opinion, as you might think. Westerners I work with, have often personally complained that 'Chinese, Indians and Japanese work too hard and raise the bar for us'. And my comments on London not being comparable with B'lore are also based on first-hand experience of both cities.

But I hope we all can set our differences aside for a bit, and try and work out 'middle-ground' solutions acceptable to all, including some 100,000 people you don't seem to like very much Smile Please consider this a 'virtual handshake'. Cheers! )

asj's picture

Its not been futile

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Hi! N, Its not been futile at all. But before I proceed, some clarifications to overcome abstractness of my comments.

London - that example was to look at political/economic influences.

I actually compared our own with own - resident doctors, doctors in practice, house wives, hatgadi wala - everyone in India has to work hard for survival. How do majority hard working Indians (incliding IITians and IIMites) relax? My point is majority resort to things other than the topic of this thread.

The reason why I took to your statement about Londoners being as hard working or not was for a different reason - lets agree the Westerners are less hard working - but then they party just as hard (or more). Being a Psychiatrist I can tell you the choices we make are sum total of our attitudes and beliefs which in turn are moulded by social norms / culture we grow up in. I was (without elaborating above) broadening the remit of the discussion above. We classify personalities as clusters A,B and C. Its B who are outgoing generally, but this group is also made up of anti-socials.

DUI is one part of the outcome. We have not gone in to rapes, muggings, thefts, falls and a lot more.

Now let me quickly comment on our IPC and the fines. The words up to are of big significance. SB may elaborate as he has recently met the man in charge - but on the spot fines cannot be 2K (as far as I remember). A lot more work is involved - dragging the culprits to court etc (police worldwide shy away from this, its a human trait).

Now to where I started - its not been futile. I celebrate differences. I enjoy a drink too every now and then. I am happy with 11pm (my ability to let my hair down does not depend on it - I can do many other things just as relaxing). Nothing I say above can actually equate as hatered towards party animals (perhaps I might have been one once, you never know). The other view presented here is in keeping with the idea of ensuring safety of masses. Safety has to come first (and if it means restrictions, so be it). Ultimately as a society we have to draw a line somewhere (should Bangalore become Amsterdam? we can't decide it here - it will be decided out there by the masses).

That does not take away anything from your passion about the issue and for candidly representing a view held by other party animals who may not find courage to express their view for reasons of wanting to be politically correct. You have already come up with ideas, other can chip in too. So I suggest compiling a list of measures needed to be in place first to make society accountable. I would then encourage you to find like minded people to formulate a plan to implement the identified measures. Once those measures are in place, and it is considered safe to extend the hours, I am sure the hours will be increased.

Cheers and good luck,

ASJ

murali772's picture

right spirit

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Right 'spirit', gentlemen! I extend my hand to you both in the virtual handshake. I was with SB at the talk by Mr Shankar Bidari, the Commissioner (SB would soon be posting a report on that). He has welcomed us to meet him on matters where we feel his intervention may be required. As such, once we have formulated a plan, as suggested by Doc, we could go over and meet the Commissioner.

Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
jennypinto's picture

let me bring in a woman's

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let me bring in a woman's point of view bit late, but better late than... i see this pub drinking , dancing issue a very class related one. pubs being perceived as "westernized", upper crust activity. pub /party drinking, driving and related crime is small compared to drinking in places other than pubs, that results in domestic violence. And the victims of domestic violence is almost always women and children. domestic violence is sustained and has long lasting consequences on the family.and this phenomenon cuts accross class. going by the sheer volume of drinking related violence in the state of karnataka alone, shouldn't we, politicians, the lawmakers and society in general turn more of our attentionand resources there instead of curbing very natural human celebratory activities like music and dancing?
lightness of being

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