At the beginning of the 21st century, alcoholism, transnational drug trafficking and drug addiction constitute major problems in various South Asian countries. The production, circulation and consumption of intoxicating substances created (and responded to) social upheavals in the region and had widespread economic, political and cultural repercussions on an international level. This book looks at the cultural, social, and economic history of intoxicants in South Asia, and analyses the role that alcohol and drugs have played in the region.
The book explores the linkages between changing meanings of intoxicating substances, the making of and contestations over colonial and national regimes of regulation, economics, and practices and experiences of consumption. It shows the development of current meanings of intoxicants in South Asia – in terms of politics, cultural norms and identity formation – and the way in which the history of drugs and alcohol is enmeshed in the history of modern empires and nation states — even in a country in which a staunch teetotaller and active anti-drug crusader like Mohandas Gandhi is presented as the ‘father of the nation’.
Primarily a historical analysis, the book also includes perspectives from Modern Indology and Cultural Anthropology and situates developments in South Asia in wider imperial and global contexts. It is of interest to scholars working on the social and cultural history of alcohol and drugs, South Asian Studies and Global History.
Introduction: Indian Anomalies? - Drink and Drugs in the Land of Gandhi Jana Tschurenev and Harald Fischer-Tiné Part 1: Trajectories: reconstructing the history of intoxicants in the pre-colonial and early colonial periods 1. Alcohol in Pre-Modern South Asia James McHugh 2. Opium, the East India Company and the ‘Native’ States Amar Farooqui Part 2: Cultural Encounters: European alcohol and drug consumption in the situation coloniale 3. ‘What shall become of the mission when we have such incompetent missionaries there?’: Drunkenness and mission in eighteenth century Danish East India Tobias Delfs 4. Liquid Boundaries: race, class, and alcohol in colonial India Harald Fischer-Tiné 5. Looking for Spirituality in India: a German theosophist's experiments with ganja (1894-1896) Maria Moritz Part 3: Nationalism and Internationalism: contested regulatory regimes 6. The Opium Question in Colonial Assam Kawal Deep Kour 7. Internationalizing the Indian War on Opium: colonial policy, the nationalist movement and the League of Nations Maria Framke 8. ‘Drunkards beware!’: Prohibition and nationalist politics in the 1930s Robert Eric Colvard Part 4: Postcolonial India: the legacy of prohibitionist politics 9. The Culture of Prohibition in Gujarat Carolyn Heitmeyer and Edward Simpson