65% of bars and wine shops in Mumbai and suburbs are named after Hindu Deities

  • Information sought by Abhishek Murukate under RTI shows negligence of the Excise Department
  • Excise Department covers up by stating that the name change is not possible and demands cancellation of the Government order

Mumbai – 65% of bars and wine shops in Mumbai and suburbs are named after Hindu Deities. These include names of Deities like Shrikrushna Bar and Restaurant, Durga Restaurant and Bar, Siddhivinayak Bar and Restaurant, Ganesh Beer Shop, Mahalakshmi Wines, etc. Bars and wine shops are also named after Saints and historical forts; however, the Excise Department has requested the Government to cancel the Government order in this regard by stating its inability to change such names. This has come to light through the information sought by Abhishek Murukate, Coordinator of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti’s Surajya Abhiyan, under Right to Information (RTI).

The Government of Maharashtra issued an order on 7th April 2022 to change the names of the wine shops named after the Deities, national heroes and dignitaries. Owing to this Government order, Abhishek Murukate sought information from the State Excise Commission regarding how many wine shops and bars in Mumbai were renamed. In the information provided, the Excise Department has given the list of all the wine shops and beer bars in Mumbai and its suburbs. Out of a total of 318 bars and wine shops, as many as 208 bars and wine shops are named after Deities.

Religious names not given deliberately : Excise Department

The information provided by the Excise Department mentions, ‘Although the names of the bars and wine shops are similar to that of Deities, national figures, dignitaries, forts; they are not named consciously or for religious purposes. These names are of their family members, ancestors, descendants, etc. Licensing of bars and wine shops goes through several establishments, the Income Tax Department, the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai, the Food and Drug Administration, the Treasury and various authorities registered under the Trademark Act. So, it is not possible to rename them in a short period. Therefore, we have requested the Government to cancel the order in this regard and make necessary amendments while issuing the names.’

A period of 6 months was given by the Government to rename the bars and wine shops named after Deities, national figures and dignitaries. However, the Excise Department’s response shows that even after 2 years, no action has been taken on it.

The government should order the Excise Department to take action: Abhishek Murukate, Coordinator, Surajya Abhiyan, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti

The Excise Department’s refusal to take action citing ‘it will take time’, is nothing but shrugging off responsibility. No matter what anyone says, Siddhivinayak, Shri Durgadevi, Shrikrushna and Shriram are the names of the Hindu Deities and people are named after these Deities. In society, these names are not seen as belonging to an individual, but as Hindu Deities. Bars and wine shops can use many other names. There is no need to use the names of Deities. It is a question of the religious sentiments of Hindus. Therefore, the Government should not accept the request of the Excise Department and instead, order them to take action regarding the names of bars and wine shops within a certain deadline. Officers who ignore this order should be paid only half of their salaries for the following months for which the action is delayed.

Editorial Perspective

Had the bars and wine shops been named after beliefs of other religions, would the Excise Department respond in the same manner ?