A new musical called ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ based on the hit film shows 2 Punjabi men drinking alcohol in front of a picture many perceive as Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Sikh Guru.

Although the men aren’t exactly drinking alcohol as it’s a show, but the mere fact of an imitation of alcohol consumption prohibited by Sikh Gurus hurts Sikh sentiments.

Many on social media have expressed outrage over the musical and demanding the removal of the picture. However, many argue that Punjabis drink alcohol everyday in their living rooms where pictures of Sikh Gurus hangs on their walls. The fact of the matter is 2 wrongs don’t make a right and so both should be condemned.

What is the Sikh stance on alcohol?

It is well known that alcohol is a drug. In Sikh philosophy, it is not allowed to consume or drink alcohol. It has an almost immediate effect on the brain and will alter ones mood. Drinking alcohol makes people feel relaxed, happy and even euphoric, but in reality alcohol is a depressant. Depressants are psychoactive drugs which temporarily diminish the function or activity of a specific part of the body or mind. Due to their effects typically having a “down” quality to them, depressants are also occasionally referred to as “downers”.

Alcohol switches off the part of the brain that controls judgement, leading to loss of inhibitions. Drinking even small amounts of alcohol can affect physical coordination and stability. Prolonged and heavy alcohol use poses serious health risks. Alcohol is one of the major causes of liver cirrhosis (irreversible scarring of the liver). This happens because healthy liver cells die and the dead cells are replaced by fibrous tissue.

Other health risks of alcohol are: Stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal complications, fertility problems, weight gain, depletion of certain vitamins and minerals, high blood pressure, increased risk of a heart attack, increased risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, colon (especially in men) and breast, etc.

The following is a summary of what the global message presented by the Guru regarding alcohol. The Guru tells us:

1. By drinking wine, one gets much misery.
2. By getting drunk, one cannot distinguish between friend and foe.
3. Being intoxicated with liquor, one commits many a sin.
4. The drinking of wine leads one to wicked deeds.
5. Avoid it with all your determination. Better to be intoxicated with the nectar of HIS remembrance.

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