- What is alcohol? Its appearance. How produced?
- Its effects. Some useful, some injurious.
- Opinion of medical men. Social effects.
- Conclusion: prohibition is best and can hurt no one.
Alcohol is a clear liquid like water in appearance and is usually produced by chemical change called “fermentation” in fruits, grains, and vagerable substances. Apply a match to alcohol and you will see it burn with a pale, almost invisible flame. It can be used to drive a motor-engine, and when petrol was scarce during the recent war, many motor-cars ran entirely on alcohol, though a mixture of alcohol and petrol was more satisfactory. It can be used to preserve substances and prevent decay. In the museum, you may see snakes and other specimens preserved in jars of alcohol.
For centuries, people have used alcohol as a drink, though perhaps not knowing it by that name. The earliest form was probably the fermented juice of grapes, which they called wine. Doctors say that a small quantity helps digestion but a large amount damages digestion. A little alcohol, some claim stimulates the mental powers; but a large amount confuses the brain and even causes unconsciousness. Some doctors say that a little alcohol is good for a victim of a fainting fit or an accident; others say it is not a good stimulant in such cases.
Sir Arbuthnot Lane, a royal physician, says that alcohol in, small quantities benefits people who are old and weak. But for every person who uses alcohol in moderation, there are hundreds who take it in excess. Everywhere men are induced to drink because it produces a false feeling of well-being, an unreal happiness in which the troubles of life are for the time forgotten. Poor men, whether the dock-workers of London or the mill labourers of Karachi, spend their wages on beer or toddy. As a result, iheir families are prived of food and clothes.
It seems, that, while acohol has certainuses, it can be a dangerous friend; and it should not be sold freely to poor and uneducated men. But can we keep it from the poor and allow it to the rich? That would create a feelings injustice. An experiment to prohibit. it entirely failed in America, but it is possible that utter prohibiton will be the only policy suitable for Pakistan with its millions of backward, poor people.