But he is too much infatuated by America. I want him to remember: American capitalism has a three-hundred-year-old life. It will take at least three hundred years for you to have the same pollution as L.A., the same high-rise buildings, one hundred stories, one hundred twenty stories high. You cannot do it just like a miracle. And still, America has three million beggars. At least the Soviet Union has no beggars. It is not as rich as America, but it is not as poor as India. Dividing the land, distributing property to individual hands, will not make it America; it will make it India.
And because he has opened the doors, it will be too late now for him to close them. Journalists are there; each nook and corner of the Soviet Union is being filmed, televised, and they are bringing out all those things which the closed doors were hiding. Twenty percent of the people in the Soviet Union are living below the minimum nourishment level. Now he has to go against all the statistics that have been given to the world by the Soviet leaders up to now.
He is against vodka. He himself does not drink. That is the trouble of people who don’t drink: they become saints. It is very difficult to not drink without becoming a saint. Then they want everybody to stop drinking. Now he is proposing prohibition of all alcohol. That has been the poor Russian’s only relaxation, only enjoyment, only entertainment – vodka. Otherwise he has no beautiful car, no house, nowhere to go, no money…it was vodka that was keeping him alive! At least in the evening he can drink, and with his friends he can dance and rejoice. Even that is being taken away.
I have heard that the youth of the Soviet Union are absolutely against prohibition. They should be against it, because prohibition has never succeeded anywhere in the world. It seems people never learn.
In India we have tried twice – and India must be the best place to try prohibition – but both times we have failed. It was Morarji Desai, both times, who was responsible for prohibition: once when he was the deputy prime minister under Indira Gandhi. Then he enforced prohibition, and prohibition killed thousands of Indians, because people started drinking spirit, people started making alcohol – homemade, and they don’t know how to make it! So hundreds and hundreds of people – in Calcutta, in Patna, in Madras, everywhere – were dying of poisoning.
It is an art to create a refined wine that gives you a little forgetfulness about your anxieties, gives you a little laughter, a little dance, a little music. There are connoisseurs….
I have heard about one connoisseur, one man who could, just by tasting the wine or any kind of alcoholic beverage, tell what trademark the wine is, and how old. Ten years old, twenty years old, thirty years? – because the older the wine is, the better.
He used to go to pubs and he would put one hundred dollars on the table, and convince the owner: “Give me any alcohol and I will tell you the trademark, the country in which it was manufactured, and how old it is. If I fail, these hundred dollars are yours. If I succeed…put a hundred dollars by the side; both the notes will be mine.”