Dr Asangba Tzudir
With recent calls for repealing the NLTP Act from sitting legislators and more recently from the Naga Council Dimapur stating that the Act needs to be lifted with “proper mechanism” as it is a total failure. Once again this has set the alarm bells ringing with some Church organizations calling for strict enforcement of the Prohibition law. It has also led to heightened debates and discussions but on the same old lines. Considering the ground reality, the NLTP Act is a farce, and the popular opinion of the mass is the call for lifting of this contentious Act.
While, the Naga Council Dimapur is for lifting of the Act with “proper mechanism”, it is also the point of contention. Well, lifting of the Act definitely will be easier than enforcing the act in its strictest manner. However, what can or could be the “proper mechanism” to deal with the situation once the act is lifted? If enforcing failed, even the best of mechanism will be shaken because there is something about the context, behavior and the attitudinal trend of the people that refuses to change. So any mechanism proper will not last. It is not the case always that, if something does not work, then the reverse or the opposite works.
While the concern of the Church is a serious one, the Church is also sandwiched in the debate on lifting and enforcing. If they try their own means of ‘prohibiting’ they will be criticized, and if they cry out for enforcing, still then they will be condemned bare highlighting other issues and challenges which they should be doing. For now, under the present circumstances neither lifting nor prohibiting is going to work.
What then should the Church do? The Church has a different mandate – the Bible, which has answers on how to deal with problems associated with alcoholism. The idea of Christian love, care and concern often finds neglected. A very strong forte for the Church to intervene and express these beautiful concepts practically is the aspect of Home evangelism and for the Church to reach out to its members. This is one aspect which the Church really needs to strengthen as it has somehow been neglected. As such, the Church may seriously think about employing full time Home Evangelist who has expertise to deal with the different situational contexts of psycho-social, emotional, physical etc. Also, it requires an equal dose of evangelism and counseling.
Secondly, visiting all homes may be difficult, but it is not so difficult to identify individuals or families that are facing issues related to alcoholism, and thereby giving priority to such individuals and families. For sure, there are alcoholics who are helplessly seeking a way to stop drinking but enslaving themselves finding themselves in a helpless state.
However, the evils and the issues related to alcoholism is not just the responsibility of the Church alone. Family is the primary institution where teaching and learning begins. Thus, family is a very sacred space to teach and morally mould individuals at the right time. In the end, scattered efforts are not enough, but calls for a collective responsibility and sincerity from every section of people in combating the ills associated with alcoholism.
(Dr Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to the Morung Express. Comments can be emailed to email@example.com)