When A 1938 British Ad Thought Tea Could Cure Indian Alcoholism - Homegrown

When A 1938 British Ad Thought Tea Could Cure Indian Alcoholism

It seems the phrase ‘Colonial Hangover’ stands to mean far more than what we once thought it to be. The British appeared to have found the cure to alcoholism and hangovers way back in 1938 - the cure, none other than Indian tea, with or without your pinky in the air.

In this ad from The Indian Express, we hear of a first person’s account pertaining to his dilemma of Toddy shops closing down in his town. He asks, “If i can’t get Toddy any more, what am I to drink? I work hard and occasionally need a stimulant.” Well, the answer lays in front of the gentleman, clear as day - Tea. The second ad in the same series goes on to calling Toddy an enemy, deeming Tea to be your eternal friend. How could we not be friends with a depression erasing, energy giving nectar? Finally, it encourages us to give up any intoxicant use and take to tea instead.

It appears that this cure is a happy coincidence, given the East India Company’s large scale commercial cultivation of tea across the country. According to this source, “By 1750, they (The British) were purchasing millions of pounds of tea every year from China. Even though the British managed to counterbalance it with opium trade to some extent, they found that their tea consumption was exorbitantly expensive and unsustainable. This realisation led to a sustained effort by the British to understand tea production – and start tea cultivation in India.”

It remains unclear today as to whether tea is truly the cure to alcoholism, but one thing is for sure - it is a part of our inherited glory that is here to stay.

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