“How Indians Intoxicated Themselves in the 19th Century: The Case of Gorakhpur”, Dharma Dispatch, 2023:
THE BRITISH ACQUIRED AND SUSTAINED THEIR BHARATIYA EMPIRE using multi-pronged tactics apart from war. Topmost among these was a thorough and microscopic study of everything they observed and heard here. From the variations of the green colour of the plantain leaves growing throughout Bharat to the curvature of the water-pot from which say, a Bania drank. Nothing escaped their attention. Needless, they meticulously documented these studies in a prolific fashion.
An interesting area of these studies included the intoxicants that we consumed in the 19th century. Our archives revealed an intriguing report titled The Stimulants of the Classes published in 1890 in Calcutta. Written in typical bureaucratese, it gives us a rather captivating portrait of this ubiquitous slice of daily life of our society.
Typically, the report classifies the intoxicants on the basis of “castes” and “classes” of the Bharatiya society. As a historical record, it is quite valuable. Beginning with this, we offer some excerpts from that report, slightly edited for clarity and formatting…..”
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