Jump to content

"Sikh" Men And Alcohol Abuse


Recommended Posts

This may be an old article but it's extremely relevant to the Sikh community today. Just look around at our own extended families and we witness the extreme binge drinking which occurs on weekends, weddings, family functions.

Quote from the article

"It seems that Sikhs are particularly susceptibility to alcoholism. Sikh men tend to drink more spirits than beer. Spirits are stronger than other alcohols and cause more damage. Drinking culture is common in Sikh population in the UK, possible due to the acceptance of drinking in working men's culture and military culture. Many Sikh families migrated here during the Second World War when they were recruited to fight in the army."

Till this day, I see very little responsible action from our Parbhandak committees to work towards this plague which is destroying the character of our community. Yet Prabhandaks from Gurdwaras such as Ramgharia Coventry, Ramgharia Leeds, Ramgharia Leicester, Ramgharia Small Heath, Bhat Singh Sabha Birmingham, Dudley Gurdwara, Swindon Gurdwara, Ipswich Gurdwara, Huddersfield Gurdwara to name just a few go in the complete opposite direction and set up community centres promoting the consumption of alcohol in the Sikh Community.

It's absolutely disgraceful that there is no investment in the dangers of "patit-pauna" yet plenty of investment in creating "patit pauna" by these Committees!

http://www.desiblitz...d-alcohol-abuse

Brit-Asian men and Alcohol abuse

post-1686-0-55416000-1311155356_thumb.jp

British Asian men, especially of Indian origin, are more susceptible to alcohol-related problems than white British males, according to a scientific study.

Alcohol use and alcoholism is on the rise in South Asian populations. Alcohol related harm in Asians is costing the NHS and Social Services too much. For every 100 white men dying from alcohol related causes there are 160 Asian men dying. These are some of the facts published in a report in the British Medical Journal.

Dr Gurpreet Pannu, author of the study and consultant psychiatrist, says that there are disproportionately high numbers of Indian men being admitted with alcohol related problems.

There has always been alcohol use in Asian populations but the problem was not recognised. This study highlights the rise in alcohol use in Asian population. The figures are out there now and the Government has to act on these figures. Dr Pannu adds that we know that there is a high incidence of alcohol use but we don't know what is underlying this rise.

Dr Pannu explains that alcohol use and celebration of drinks culture has become more accepted in Asian populations and now equals the rise in British white populations. Both first generation and second generation have high intake of alcohol. This could reflect a rise in alcohol levels in the British white population as a whole.

Majority of alcohol admissions are with mental health problem -this is only one aspect. Social harm is also common domestic violence, self harm and road traffic accidents.

It is a myth that Indians drink less. Alcohol use in Indians now equal that of white populations. Drinks culture has become increasingly acceptable in Indian populations. However there is an equally large abstinence culture, with many stating religion as a reason for not drinking.

Drinking is not associated with 'being social' in Asian communities. High alcohol consumption and drunken behaviour is frowned upon. Asians have restraints on behaviour from their close knit, often conservative community. Overall South Asian populations show a low level of alcohol consumption. However, there is a rise in consumption in British Indian men.

Men born in India have lower rates of drinking than white men, however, the rate of admission with alcoholism is higher for Asian men in the UK. Hospital admissions for alcohol related conditions among Asians are rising. A Southall psychiatric hospital admitted more Asian patients for alcohol dependency than white patients. Almost double the number of Asians were admitted. Southall, which has a large South Asian population, have high levels of alcoholism in Asians a trend seen around the country. Most of these patients are Sikh men

It seems that Sikhs are particularly susceptibility to alcoholism. Sikh men tend to drink more spirits than beer. Spirits are stronger than other alcohols and cause more damage. Drinking culture is common in Sikh population in the UK, possible due to the acceptance of drinking in working men's culture and military culture. Many Sikh families migrated here during the Second World War when they were recruited to fight in the army.

Further studies have found that Asian heavy drinking lasts 7.4 years causing pain and suffering in Asian families. Alcoholism can break apart a family as the man becomes more and more dependent on drinking. Asians consume 383 grams of alcohol on average.

The alcoholic is unable to work or bring home an income to support their families. Alcohol abuse is often associated with anti social behaviour and domestic violence. Children grow up without the support of a parent. The cost of alcoholism in social terms is high.

The next step is to promote knowledge of the problem. Now that the Asian population is aware of the problem they are doing something about it. For example, there is a campaign in Sikh Gurudwaras in Southall to raise awareness of the issue of binge drinking.

Indian men in the UK are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol use than their white counterpart. There are biological and cultural reasons for Asian vulnerability to the risk of alcohol. The immigrant experience contributes to the drinking habit. Immigrants experience isolation, cultural alienation, poverty and deprivation. This is a difficult experience for many to cope with and they resort to drinking to solve their problems.

Alcoholism tends to hit those who don't have a supportive network and find it difficult to confide in people. Alcohol use and ethnicity surveys show a low level of uptake of supportive services among Asians. More effective outreach services need to be provided. These need to be culturally sensitive to Asians to encourage more people going through this experience alone to seek help.

A significant portion of the Asian population has become victims of alcohol. Our culture is not one that encourages drinking. It's those who are going through troubled times alone who are most vulnerable. We need to reach out to these people and let then know that help is available.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Some more references to Alcohol abuse in the Sikh Community.

http://www.bmj.com/c...543/682.extract

The British Medical Journal reports:

"34% of Irish men drink above the weekly recommended limit of 21 units of alcohol, compared with 29% of the general Irish population and 27% of the general British population. A similar problem exists in south Asian (Sikh) male migrants to the UK, where problem drinking is higher than in the Sikh population in South Asia and similar to that of the UK general population."

http://www.emphasisn...khCommunity.pdf

"Numerous studies have shown that Sikh men are more likely to drink alcohol, consume alcohol more frequently and in greater amounts than any other South Asian group."

http://alcalc.oxford...28/1/1.abstract

"Consumption is higher in Sikhs than in Hindus or Muslims, and heavy spirit drinking appears to be especially common among Sikh men. Alcohol-related psychiatric admission rates for South Asians have risen since 1971, and appear to be especially high in Sikh men. The high alcohol-related morbidity rates in this group are a priority for further research and efforts at prevention."

post-1686-0-44371700-1311166772_thumb.jp

http://onlinelibrary...55958258.d01t01

"Sikhs were most likely to be regular drinkers followed by whites and Hindus."

"Among regular drinkers Sikhs had higher average Alcohol Problem Scale Scores than did white men or Hindus."

http://www.alcoholle...aire_Turner.pdf

"Sikh girls drinking frequently increased in the 1990s"

"Sikh men, have high prevalence of alcohol-related liver damage and liver cirrhosis"

Link to post
Share on other sites

The numbers do not lie. A shocking state of affairs possibly not helped by the music industry glorifying the drinking of alcohol amongst Panjabis. Although that could be a gross oversimplification of the issue, but one that I'm sure does have some kind of affect on the alcohol abuse amongst Sikhs, especially when youngsters hear their favourite artists singing about "pegs" and "bottla" in such a positive and jovial manner.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The numbers do not lie. A shocking state of affairs possibly not helped by the music industry glorifying the drinking of alcohol amongst Panjabis. Although that could be a gross oversimplification of the issue, but one that I'm sure does have some kind of affect on the alcohol abuse amongst Sikhs, especially when youngsters hear their favourite artists singing about "pegs" and "bottla" in such a positive and jovial manner.

A strong sign of the "Sikh" reputation for excessive binge drinking is the common term Patiala Peg which is a references for the serving of alcohol double than the normal serving, or unusually very large. This term is understood in most parts of India and with the more cultured White Brits. The main reason stems to the opulent and hedonistic lifestyle of one of the maharajas of Patiala - Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, who was a heavy drinker.

We see very little proactive steps within our prabhandak establishment to counter this reputation, with anti-alcohol parchaar on Gurdwara stages usually watered down or tightly controlled by the prabhandaks. In the last 30 years I have personally not seen any projects directly funded or set up by any Gurdwara committee to deal with alcohol abuse in the Sikh Community. What I have regretfully seen is the Golak money being used to fund halls which encourage the consumption of alcohol!

Link to post
Share on other sites

A strong sign of the "Sikh" reputation for excessive binge drinking is the common term Patiala Peg which is a references for the serving of alcohol double than the normal serving, or unusually very large. This term is understood in most parts of India and with the more cultured White Brits. The main reason stems to the opulent and hedonistic lifestyle of one of the maharajas of Patiala - Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, who was a heavy drinker.

We see very little proactive steps within our prabhandak establishment to counter this reputation, with anti-alcohol parchaar on Gurdwara stages usually watered down or tightly controlled by the prabhandaks. In the last 30 years I have personally not seen any projects directly funded or set up by any Gurdwara committee to deal with alcohol abuse in the Sikh Community. What I have regretfully seen is the Golak money being used to fund halls which encourage the consumption of alcohol!

I get the impression that the speakers on our Gurudwara stages are hoping that if they don't give the alcohol issue any "publicity", it might just go away. :umm:

Could I be wrong in saying that some people actually consider it to be beadbi to mention sharaab in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib? Even a lengthy discussion on the issue (in the company of SGGS Ji) in a non-religious context might not be looked upon favourably? Although saying that, I'm 100% certain there's references to alcohol in the SGGS Ji so it can't be that.

But yeah, any criticism of sharaab on the Gurughar stage might negatively affect the profit margin of associated cultural centres, etc. :ph34r:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I get the impression that the speakers on our Gurudwara stages are hoping that if they don't give the alcohol issue any "publicity", it might just go away. :umm:

Could I be wrong in saying that some people actually consider it to be beadbi to mention sharaab in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib? Even a lengthy discussion on the issue (in the company of SGGS Ji) in a non-religious context might not be looked upon favourably? Although saying that, I'm 100% certain there's references to alcohol in the SGGS Ji so it can't be that.

But yeah, any criticism of sharaab on the Gurughar stage might negatively affect the profit margin of associated cultural centres, etc. :ph34r:

It is more to do with pleasing the target audience. The parchaar from the stages is often packaged towards satifying the punters and not over challenging their lifestyles. Buzz words like "Gurmukh" or "Gursikh" are used to describe any family that books a programme in the Gurdawara. The stages do not challenge the activities of sharab drinking which will take place directly after the Anand Karaj, instead they announce the venue where the sharab will be served.

The ignorance of discussing high Alcohol consumption in Sikhs has lead to the problem compounding over the years. We are not admitting we have the problem and simply watch our Uncles pass away one by one from liver failures.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

let me start by decalaring that I used to drink beers like beers were going out of fashion. Haven't drunk at all since the day I got married (7 years ago.

Now....I have uncles in the West Midlands who tell me about their life, and the life of the Sikh generally, in the 1950's and 1960's.....working in the foundries of the midlands. In these days before health and safety, the work was like working in a furnace. Crates of cold beer were kept close at hand because whilst working.

My own grandad has told me about life when working in the factories in London in the old days. After every shift he would come home with both his hands in terrible pain because of the blisters caused by the work. The one and only way he could ensure that he was able to go into work the next day (and these people never ever took a day off) was to burn the blisters off each evening by placing them above the hob or fire. This pain could only be tolerated after a few drinks.

Now I'm not making excuses for them or any other sikh that drinks. But we have to live in the real world. This country has always been, throughout history, and always will be, a hard drinking nation. That is never gonna change. As the original post in this thread indicates the sikh male's alcohol consumption is not greater than the average British male consumption. The problem...is our DNA. There are some exceptions but generally us south Asians, like the Australian aboriginies, lack a certain enzyme in our bodies needed to better absorb alcohol. Thus the alcohol goes into our bloodstreams alot quicker and thus we are more prone to the problems associated with alcohol.

Overall though I think the problem is nowhere near as bad as it used to be. Be honest now, when you were all kids do you remember how many drunken fights there used to be at our weddings ? How many people used to lay there in their own vomit ? We don't see that anymore. Alot of people, like me, have stopped drinking altogether and many others have started keeping their drinking under control. Of course the downside of this is that whilst sikh men have started drinking less, 'sikh' women have started drinking more.

Link to post
Share on other sites

....These alcoholics in our community need our sangat and help, we shouldnt shun them away. we need to inspire them to give up the alcohol. we've all heard of AA (alcoholics anonymous) its an alcohol support group in the uk. It has a 12 step programme which is very closely linked to having faith in god/a higher power. (although perhaps promotes christianity). Perhaps we could adopt this 12 step strategy at set up our own alcohol support groups where we can promote sikhi.

Good idea. It may help some of our brothers and sisters suffering from alcohol addiction.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...
  • 10 months later...

There seems to be some rehab facilities set up for Punjabis here in Vancouver.

I am aware of one called 'nashey shado' that is information and personal counseling that is held at the main gurdwara every few weeks !

I think that it was set up at the gurdwara because of it's convenience and location.

My impression is that the younger generation is not as into alcohol as much as the UK youth, but there are definitely more users of marijuana and coke here.

Even regular smoking amongst Punjabi youth is very low compared to UK, but the hard liquor drinkers are the older babay here by far.

Saying that, I have also been very surprised to see some of the most fit older babay and bibian compared to UK. If you go to any gym, park or running tracks, then you shall see numbers of older Punjabis keeping fit and active, and some of them can outrun and outwalk the younger lot by far !!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use