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Snippets

Alcoholic community wants reservations in government jobs

25, Dec 2010 By Simon

New Delhi. For countless years, communal groups have fought for recognition in the reservation system. Lobbying groups have primarily been caste based, but all this could change as India’s 5-million strong “community” of alcoholics is all set to lobby with the GOI for reservations.

“We are a very tight community,” said Abhijit Amra, holding onto the hand dryer in the toilet of the Sink Hole bar to keep his balance, “we get together most days to practice what we like to call our ‘community cultural rituals’. We’re big on kinship, brotherhood and generosity; we always share our wisdom with passers-by.”

He also claimed that our correspondent was his “bestest friend ever”.

The alcoholics claim that they are discriminated against in the job market. 25% of them are unemployed and a further 10% find their jobs so disagreeable they cannot bring themselves to turn up on a regular basis.

PTI photo: Muslim girls protesting against alcohol consumption in Patna on 30 Jun 2007
Some alcoholics in India are discriminated against even by their family members

“We need reserved jobs,” argued Nalin Verma, busy overseeing a “community gathering” on a park bench. Nalin, 45, once had a job as a barber but had a “little accident” after becoming a regular at “daily alcoholic community events”. He was sacked for his mistake. Nicknamed, “The Ear Trimmer”, he could not find work again as a barber.

Similar stories are told by two former taxi drivers who were fired following “small incidents with trees”. Indeed, statistics confirm alcoholics are discriminated against in any work involving precision, numeracy, people skills, physical labor, mental agility, punctuality, practicality and bodily hygiene. “Poetry and creative writing cannot provide enough jobs,” said a Ministry of Culture spokeswoman.

Many in the community claim that they are treated as “unclean” and “inhuman” by potential employers and the wider public. “I wandered over to tell this girl how nice she looked,” explained Nalin, “but she screamed and ran. I admit the ‘community ritual’ had been going on for three hours and I had fallen foul of a trouser malfunction – those zips are so fiddly after sixteen Kingfishers – but was no way to treat someone from a different community, like me.”

So adamant are the alcoholics to gain recognition that they are threatening to lie down on railway tracks if the decision goes against them. Unlike similar threats made by other groups, the threat from alcoholics is likely to be well observed as the “alcoholic community” has a long history of lying down at inappropriate public places for long periods of time.

Lawyers point out that the “alcoholic community”, like many other caste groups, has been unified largely by British intervention. They trace their history back to the founding of the Dyer Brewery at Kasauli in the 1820s. “The discrimination started then too,” claimed Amra, “one of our founding fathers dropped some of the Memsahib’s plates and we’ve been discriminated against ever since.”

Several government ministers are understood to be uneasy about offering up to 50,000 civil service jobs to alcoholics. However, a poll by Faking News carried out amongst ordinary citizens applying for passports at the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi strongly suggests that adding 50,000 incoherent, lethargic, largely absent and occasionally dribbling individuals to the civil service will make little noticeable impact.

“What!? We are also at least a million strong community; let’s protest,” said pot-smoking Anil to his doped friend Ganpat, before both of them fell down after taking five steps.