The latest cover story of Businessworld titled “The Great Indian Sin Factory” highlights an important trend in today’s Indian working class – the proliferation of rampant smoking and alcohol consumption among middle aged Indian men and women.
While this is something that I have already noticed and have often wondered, the fact that Businessworld considers it important enough to devote an entire Cover Story to is a little surprising and disturbing at the same time. The article itself talks about young Indians for whom smoking and drinking have pretty much become as big a part of their lives as Microsoft Windows has become a part of almost every household desktop in India.
Nowadays the social stigma attached with a young woman smoking or a young man frequenting the pubs and nightspots of a metro is no longer there. In fact, it is considered quite Ok for youngsters nowadays to ‘chill out and let the hair down’. Now while I am on no higher ground that these people when it comes to smoking or alcohol (upto a few years ago, I could beat almost anybody in a ‘bottoms up’ competition when it came to Kingfisher Lager Beer guzzling), these things hadn’t yet been wired into my DNA in such a manner that they had become part and parcel of my life.
I guess growing salaries, and an ever increasing quantum of disposable income in Indian pockets have contributed to this. The article also talks about how prostitution and gambling are also getting more than their fair share of the Sin Rupee. While these two professions remain illegal in the country, enterprising entrepreneurs have found new ways to tap into the ever increasing need of Indians to engage in these activities are earning great returns of income for their ‘promoters’.
All in all, an interesting read for anybody who wants to plug into the newest generation of working Indians.