The per capita consumption of liquor in our Islands is 13 litres far ahead of the national average of 4.3 litres. The data on alcoholism and extent of liquor sales in the Islands indicate the abyss, that we are heading to. Illicit brew, hooch tragedies or tourism aren't enough justification against total prohibition anymore.

By Zubair Ahmed

The earthquake of 2004, which shook the ground beneath our feet and the killer waves of tsunami which took away many lives and razed down properties worth crores still remains etched in our memory, bringing back nightmares of the scary days and nights that followed. We mourn the death and loss. But, we are conveniently caught unaware about a more disturbing scourge shaking the very foundation of our existence. Alcoholism is devouring the Islands and the Islanders like never before. This plague does not discriminate between rich or poor, villager or townsman, young or old, rural or urban, tourist or Islander.

Last year on Teachers Day, a group of senior students of a rural school in South Andaman came up with a shocking idea. Following the footsteps of a few teachers, they came to classes to teach in fully inebriated state. They were drunk! A bunch of students from another school were found near a waterfall, again drunk!

Undoubtedly, alcoholism is stunting the overall social and economical growth making the majority of the miniscule population of the Islands addicted to this scourge. The fervor shown by those at the helm to make the bottomline of the corporation - entrusted to sell this poison - look impressive by promoting sale of liquor indicates the utter disregard or apathy towards the well being of the people. No wellness centre or seminar can compensate the enduring loss to human resource in the Islands. When the authorities were seen making calls to the bar owners demanding increase in sales pitch shows their lack of concern and skewed priorities.

The extent of damage is beyond imagination. The devil lies in the details. The Island population of 4 lakhs and a couple of lakh tourists consumed not less than 52 lakh litres of liquor in 2015-16, an increase of 2.21 lakh litres from 2014-15. ANIIDCO, the sole distributor of IMFL sold liquor for Rs 150 crores last year and made a profit of Rs 16.36 crores from liquor sales alone out of Rs 19.03 crores net profit of the Corporation. All other heads including POL, milk, steel, air ticketing and tourism activities combined made a profit of just Rs 2.66 crores.

Out of total sale of 52 lakh litres, 37.11 lakh litres of hard liquor, 15.17 lakh litres of beer and 0.39 lakh litres of Ready to Drink (RTD) alcoholic beverages were sold in 2015-16.

While South Andaman consumed 35.58 lakh litres, other Islands from Campbell Bay to N&M Andaman consumed 17.10 lakh litres.

What is astonishing is the fact that Little Andaman with no proper boat connectivity and a population less than 20,000, with no mentionable tourism footfall consumed liquor to the tune of Rs 7.17 crores while Havelock, the face of brand Andaman, the tourism paradise, registered liquor sale of Rs 7.18 crores. There are 5 bars in Little Andaman and 12 bars in Havelock.

Port Blair and surrounding areas of South Andaman with around 125 bars registered a sale of Rs 102 crores, 68% of the total liquor sales in the territory.

In outstation sales, Rangat spent Rs 12.83 crores consuming 4.58 lakh litres and Diglipur with a population of 43183 consumed 4.43 lakh litres spending Rs 12.42 crores in the year 2015-16. Mayabunder residents spent Rs 80.13 lakh consuming 2.85 lakh litres of liquor. Diglipur has 19 bars and one ANIIDCO wine shop. In Mayabunder and Rangat, there are 6 bars and one wine shop each.

Ready to Drink (RTD) alcoholic beverages have alarmingly made inroads with its consumption rising every year. From 25,034 ltrs in 2013-14 to 39,332 litres in 2015-16, there has been a steep increase of 14298 litres in two years. A lot of youngsters, especially those trying out alcoholic beverages for the first time opt for Ready-to-Drink bottled beverages with alcoholic content. This is how initiation is happening among the young generation especially school going children, eventually shifting to hard liquor. RTD seems to be  socially acceptable, and preferred by youngsters and women.

According to NSSO, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Daman & Diu, Sikkim, and, Puducherry are clearly among the highest consumers of alcohol and spirits in the country.

On the WHO’s ‘Years of Life Lost’ (YLL) scale  – a measure of premature mortality – alcohol attributed years of life lost puts India on a precarious 4 on a scale of 1 to 5.

While the national per capita consumption of liquor is 4.3 litres, our Islands is far ahead with 13 litres.

Its widely accepted and acknowledged that suicide deaths are on a steep rise in our Islands. The Islands figure among the top three states in suicide rates. Alcoholism overtly or covertly plays a decisive role in such deaths. In the last five years, 701 suicides were reported in the Islands. Last year, 158 cases of suicides were reported. 38% of suicide cases are either alcoholism-related or broken families or depression.

Humane Touch, a voluntary organization actively working against alcoholism in South Andaman recently conducted a survey in two wards of Bindraban panchayat. The data from the two wards of the obscure Panchayat was quite shocking. Out of 100 families surveyed, 72 families were affected by alcoholism. Out of 195 males, 111 consumed alcohol. In the last ten years, seven suicides and 15 alcohol related deaths were reported from these two wards. Out of 111 males who consumes liquor, there were 23 addicts. And, out of 100 families, 34 families are under serious financial duress due to alcoholism of the head of the family or the sole bread earner.

Peddlers buy bottles from ANIIDCO run wine shops and peddle it in villages. Police also find it difficult to check this menace as they carry bills. If one checks the number of cases registered at each police station, the highest number would be cases related with excise violations. But, do the data have any bearing on our policing? They keep filing cases against violators and still violation keeps going on. The graph never shows a declining trend in cases related with excise. Out of 3800 cases registered in 2014, 1933 cases were related to Excise Regulation, more than 50% cases!

Whenever, the issue of complete prohibition is raised, the scarecrow named hooch tragedies are cited extensively. As per data available, since independence till 2016, hardly 2000 people died in hooch tragedies in the country, whereas, our country registers more than 3 million deaths attributed to alcohol consumption alone every year as per data released by NSSO. Alcoholism is one of the leading causes of liver cirrhosis and failure. About 10 percent of strokes, tuberculosis, hypertension, and epilepsy are caused by excess alcohol consumption.

It's a farce that the Islands need liquor to sustain tourism. The figures from Rangat, Diglipur and Hutbay says a different story. The amount of alcohol consumed by the Islanders is shocking, which will have devastating long term effect on the socio-economic condition and health of the Islanders. If the trend is not arrested by bringing in total prohibition, all the efforts by the Administration and Govt of India to develop the territory would make no sense. Comparatively, the revenue from liquor makes no major financial contribution to the exchequer, but the social cost is very high with people spending more on health. Every rupee the government gets off the bottle, it loses more than Rs. 2 in terms of healthcare expenses and lost productivity. Road accidents are also on the rise with many young lives wasted due to drunken driving. 

Had the hard earned money of Rs 100 crores spent on liquor by Islanders spent on families, it would have brought positive changes in their living standards.

Its high time the Administration wakes up and takes drastic steps to check this menace or the future of the Islands with an unhealthy and unproductive population looks very bleak. The logic that prohibition doesn't work is a lame excuse to continue with the status quo. For an healthy and active Andamans, prohibition seems to be the only way out, after all, prohibition is also a directive principle in our Constitution under Article 47.

By Yogi Ashwini

In the last article, we discussed about the prana-shakti, the universal force that drives all life in this Creation including our bodies. Our body, as shared is a combination of the varying prana frequencies in the form of the five elements or the Panch Mahaprana. And it is this frequency which differentiates one being from the other.

Panch Mahapranas, is the immediate force which governs the physical body and with this the mudras, i.e., the various movements of the hands and fingers by which we can alter the states of these Panch Mahapranas, which would again have a direct bearing on our etheric body (Pranamaya) and physical body (Annamaya).

Modern science tells us that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it only changes form. We all believe it. A fact known way back to the ‘Vedic Masters’, who said around fourteen-thousand years ago that there was no such thing as destruction, what seems to be destroyed actually only changes form. It is from here that the concept of re-birth stems. Just as the body would only change form after death, it is also a certainty that whatever force makes the body function would also only change form or maybe ‘move to another body’.

In the following section we examine how these elements are represented in the human hand and how they can be used to create a balance in the body.

These five elements are:

1) Fire: represented by the thumb of your hand.

2) Air: represented by the first (index) finger of your hand.

3) Ether: represented by the second (middle) finger of your hand.

4) Water: represented by the third linger of your hand.

5) Earth: represented by the little finger of your hand.

 These elements form the basis of the major chakras that govern the body; earth for Mooladhar, water for Swadhisthan, fire for Manipoorak, air for Anahad and ether for Vishuddhi. The controls for the various elements in our body lie at our fingertips.

The ancients also explained how, with bringing together the fingers in various permutations and combinations, the elements could be manipulated in the physical body. If any element touches the tip of the thumb, it expands and at the base it reduces. We can very easily increase or decrease the various bodily elements, depending on the situation, using mudras. For example, in extreme tension and anxiety, like when appearing for an interview, exam or an important meeting, the vayu tattva increases leading to uneasiness in the chest. Place your index finger at the base of the thumb (where you get a pulsating feeling), the air element will normalise and you will feel better. The gyan mudra, which involves touching the index finger to the tip of the thumb, has the diametrically opposite effect. If the body is unprepared for the increase in the vayu tattva, tension increases and nervous disorders happen. Hence it is inadvisable to sit in gyan mudra in the initial stages of dhyan. It is introduced by one’s Guru at a later stage, after the body has attained a specific balance. Mudras are a perfect and precise science, however, not taught en masse. It is given by the Guru to the shishya, as per individual needs and capacity. If used incorrectly, it can do more harm than good. The purpose of mudras is to bring the body in a state of balance. An incorrect mudra would create imbalance because an element which is not supposed to increase might do so.

As one moves up, lower elements merge with the higher. Ether contains air, fire, water and earth; air holds fire, water and earth; fire contains water and earth, and water contains the earth element. To effect a change, these can be easily controlled and modified by accessing the element that is above the five elements—the par-tattva or Shiva, governed by the agya chakra, in the sanidhya of Guru. A yogi has an association with the lower elements, too, but he controls them through the agya.

In the next issue, I will take you through Panch Mahapran Dhyan, a kriya that helps bring these elements in balance, preparing your body for dhyan as detailed in my book, Sanatan Kriya-Essence of Yoga.

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and an authority on the Vedic sciences. His book, 'Sanatan Kriya, The Ageless Dimension' is an acclaimed thesis on anti-ageing.Log onto to or mail to dhyan@dhyanfoundation. com for more.

By Yogi Ashwini

Before we move any further in our discussions on the etheric let me reiterate there that the practice of yog has to be an experiential process. The various aspects of body and beyond that are described in this series of articles is strictly on the basis of experience of sadhaks at Dhyan Ashram.Without practice and without dedication to the subject it will all be theory. Be assured that what you read here is a very miniscule aspect of what the complete practice of yog is.

Last week we had introduced the subject of Chakras. These chakras control each and every moment of our life. While we think that it is we who are controlling our actions but it is this etheric “us” which is making us act, think, work, look, feel and experience. Therefore to have a more peaceful and healthy life at the mental, emotional, physical and financial planes it is important to balance our energy centers which in turn will balance us the way we know we are.

Let us first do a quick run-through on what aspects on the physical plane are these chakras having an effect.

The Mooladhar chakra situated at the base of your spine is responsible for controlling the musculo-skeletal system. It is also responsible for all our interactions in the material world. The Swadhishthan chakra located about two fingers above the Mooladhar is responsible for controlling the reproductive system.

Manipoorak chakra situated at the naval controls the digestive and the excretory system and is also the seat of power. A weak Manipoorak chakra is also the reason for origination of fear.

Anahad chakra which is situated at the centre of the chest cavity controls the respiratory system, and the heart. This chakra is also responsible for unconditional love. Vishuddhi chakra situated in the region of the throat is the seat for higher creativity while on the physical it is controlling the thyroids, parathyroids, larynx and pharynx. Artists and people who are in creative fields have a highly evolved Vishuddhi chakra.

Agya chakra situated between the eyebrows in the physical controls the organs situated in the head region. It is also a chakra which is responsible for transformation, being the seat of Lord Shiva. It will be beyond the scope of this article to discuss this chakra in any further details.

So you see how the various aspects of ours are actually in control of our chakras and how important it is to balance them and make them healthy. Sanatan Kriya details Chakra Santulan Pranayam which when practiced regularly brings the body into a state of balance keeping it healthy & disease-free. 

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and an authority on the Vedic sciences. His book, 'Sanatan Kriya, The Ageless Dimension' is an acclaimed thesis on anti-ageing.Log onto to or mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more.

As the body is the vehicle of the soul, it is very important to do certain practices to purify (the physical & etheric layers) and strengthen it. The last few articles walked you through certain techniques from Sanatan Kriya, practice and the strict discipline of which only, will help you achieve a balanced and disease-free body.

In Yog, optimal utilization of resources is the key to a healthy body. Our body is run on Prana, the force that runs the Creation. Excess prana is not a guarantee of sound health; the key is to balance the various nadis and chakras, which regulate the prana in the body. 

Chakra Santulan Pranayam redistributes the prana as per the requirement of the chakras, filling where there is depletion and removing where there is excess.

To do the kriya, Sit in Vajrasana. Close your eyes and take a full yogic breath (combination of abdominal and thoracic breathing).

Release the breath and take the palms down facing the Mooladhar chakra (Photo 1). (Photos Left – Right from top)

Begin inhalation in ujjai and simultaneously raise your palms to the Swadhishthan (Photo 2) continue inhaling and raise palms to Manipoorak (Photo 3), Anahat (Photo 4), Vishuddhi (Photo 5), and Agya (Photo 6).

Finally extend your palms towards the skies and be aware of your Guru with “OM Shree Guruve Namah OM” (Photo 7).

Stop the breath as in antara kumbhaka (i.e. holding the inhaled breath) and then slowly exhaling, bring the palms down, stopping momentarily at each chakra, till you come down to the Mooladhar.

This completes one cycle of the kriya. A set of seven such cycles would complete one set of the Chakra Santulan Kriya. The key point to note in this kriya is that one cycle of hand movements has to be synchronised with one breathing cycle. Do not under any circumstances strain yourself. Build up very slowly.

 The first few times, maybe for a month you would find that your hands are moving very fast up and down. It is alright. You need to slowly and steadily increase your lung capacity with regular practice of Sanatan Kriya.

The Chakra Santulan Pranayam has an immediate effect on the chakras and nadis, opening blockages in the nadis. As you progress in the practice under the guidance of a Guru, certain higher senses awaken and you are able to perceive and monitor the changes in the size, colour and shape of various chakral points. Sadhaks at Dhyan Ashram use these chakras to detect existing and future imbalances in the body, and also correct them. 

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and an authority on the Vedic sciences. His book, 'Sanatan Kriya, The Ageless Dimension' is an acclaimed thesis on anti-ageing.Log onto to or mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more.

By Yogi Ashwini

Hope you all have been following the practices and exercises as advised over the past few weeks. Yoga is purely an experiential process. The subtler aspects of various dimensions which we are now stepping into expect a high degree of dedication and regularity in practice.

Last week we had introduced you to the subject of prana and said that prana controls your physical body or the Anna Maya Kosha. This prana is the Force which we see all around us in the form of water that we drink or the food that we eat or the air we breathe. Everything around us in the Universe is prana, which vibrates at different frequencies.

The frequency of the food that we eat or the atmosphere in which we breathe at any given point of time mixes with the frequency of our Prana Maya Kosha (etheric body). These 2 frequencies average out making our own pranic layer subtler or grosser. Have we not felt heavy on entering certain environments or elated and fresher after eating certain kinds of foods? This is the immediate reaction on the physical which this averaging of frequencies has. Clairvoyants at Dhyan Ashram are able to perceive these interactions in the form of change in colours in the Prana Maya Kosha - grosser interactions surfacing as shades of brown and dirty yellows, while subtler interactions making the colours lighter, subtler and more vibrant.

The Prana Maya Kosha is forever communicating with our physical bodies through certain centres in the etheric layer called Chakras. Each and every cell of our physical body has got a chakra associated with it. A chakra is like an exhaust fan, pulling in fresh prana and throwing out used prana moving clockwise and anticlockwise alternately. Just as a set of cells make an organ and a set of organs make a body so does a set of micro chakras controlling a set of cells make a minor chakra which controls an organ in the body and a set of minor chakras make a major chakra.

Last week we had done an experiment to feel the Prana Maya Kosha. The tool that was being used was the Palm Chakra. It is this chakra that is reflected as a Lotus flower in the hands of pictures of evolved beings which bless and the beam of light that is shown coming out of the palms is the prana that is flowing out of this chakra. The colours that are shown are not imaginary because this is exactly what a clairvoyant sees in the etheric world.

There are seven major chakras that control our etheric body. These seven major chakras control our entire physical, emotional, mental and financial conditions through their hyper or underactivity. To lead a balanced life it is extremely important to have all these chakras in absolute balance.

We will be devoting the next few weeks on understanding some very simple but very powerful practices from Sanatan Kriya to balance these chakras. 

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and an authority on the Vedic sciences. His book, 'Sanatan Kriya, The Ageless Dimension' is an acclaimed thesis on anti-ageing.Log onto to or mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more.