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Boozy Punjabi Weddings Are Now A British Problem


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
South Asia Mail

Boozy Punjabi weddings are now a British problem

By Dipankar De Sarkar

London, Dec 11 (IANS) Punjabis in Britain have
been ticked off for serving too much alcohol at
their weddings - a practice that is not only
threatening lives but also putting pressure on families to dish out the drink.

A British charity serving a West London suburb
with a large population of Punjabis says the
practice has become so widespread that many
families of brides complain that the groom's side
pressurises them to serve alcohol when they don't want to.

The Southall-based Drug and Alcohol Programme
(DAAP) says it is now willing to "name and shame"
families that exert such pressure, pointing out
ethnic Indians - especially Sikhs - in Britain
are particularly vulnerable to alcohol-related deaths.

It is teaming up with local gurdwaras to address
what it says is a growing problem in Britain.

"There is huge pressure on families to provide
alcohol at weddings - the boy's side usually
makes the demand. We have a whole dossier of
evidence," said DAAP's chief executive officer Perminder Dhillon.

"This problem is extensive now, and it is akin to
demanding dowry. We end up supporting users with
alcohol-related health problems during the
binge-drinking period," she added in a warning
ahead of the festive season in Britain.

She quoted research published in the British
Medical Journal as saying men of South Asian
origin in Britain are four times more likely to
die of alcohol-related liver problems than other
ethnic groups. And eighty percent of those South
Asians who are vulnerable to alcohol-related mortality are Sikhs, she said.

Dhillon, an award-winning charity worker, said it
was wrong to think that Asians did not
binge-drink because of their religion or culture.

"Many parents feel pressurised to provide a huge
quantity of alcohol at weddings even if they
themselves are non-drinkers. It is seen as cool,
fashionable, a sign of being modern and certainly
a yardstick to measure the amount of wealth been
lavished at the wedding," she said.

"Our message is simple - name and shame those who
do this. We will not be afraid to put these
examples up on our website and condemn them.

As a community, we really have to take our
collective heads out of the sand and acknowledge
that there is a problem with excessive drinking."

Dhillon said the charity was not against
"sensible drinking" but added that many guests at
weddings tended to mix their drinks, which meant
that "safe levels are exceeded very quickly."

The DAAP and local gurdwaras will organise a day
of action in January 2010 in Southall.

According to an editorial published in the
prestigious British Medical Journal in October,
alcohol-use among South Asians in Britain is
"under-recognised, and alcohol related harm is disproportionately high."

It said alcohol-related deaths are particularly
high among Irish and Scottish people, as well as Indian men.

"Ethnic minorities make up almost eight percent
of the population in the United Kingdom, yet
their contribution to the cost of alcohol related
harm, estimated at £20bn ($32bn) a year, is not
widely known. This has led to public health
policies based on incorrect assumptions," the BMJ said.
May 24, 2008
So many Anti-Gurmat practices are being carried on in the garb of SOCIETIAL PRESSURE , serving & drinking of alcohal is the most pressing of those . Gurbani specifically forbids a Sikh from consuming Alcohal even if it made of Ganga Jal . A very good effort at creating social awareness , something similar required in Punjab urgently . But I remember my uncle did not serve alcohal at his son's reception last year , but relatives brought their own booze & soon there was a big crowd of bacchus lovers all around their table causing a great embarrasment to the hosts .

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