As part of his development of the justifi cation for the sociological analysis of suicide, Durkheim considered, and rejected, any association with the consumption of alcohol, noting that if one compared maps of regions of suicide and alcohol ‘almost no connection is seen between them’ (Durkheim 1951: 77). Consistent with the Durkheimian tradition, early suicide literature tended to ignore alcohol consumption as a possible risk factor for suicide. More recently, however, Lester (1995) has shown that there is considerable documentation to support the idea that there is a positive association between alcohol consumption and suicide. Most research has investigated this issue in industrialised nations and there has been little that has focused on less developed countries, such as India.