28 February, 2021

Weed Or Weedout

India has a Rs 10 lakh crore drug problem. So why aren’t ­ agencies going after the cartels feeding a growing demand for banned substances?

Bollywood Hippie
Zeenat Aman in the cult movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna.
Weed Or Weedout

Purple strobe lights, psychedelic floral patterns unfolding behind a reeling hero, curry western rock ’n roll…and yes, the vamp, always the vamp. There’s something about the 70s Bollywood potboiler that has defined the frame through which a lot of Indians interpret the complex, peril-filled world of drugs. That Indian cinema is never the best factual guide to reality is secondary.

What it really does is to channel all energies into fearful stereotypes about ­‘modernity’, especially resentful attitudes tinged with envy about ‘the elite’ and their ‘sinful’ living. And what that in turn breeds is the ideology of the witch-hunt. The real problems—international trafficking, hard drugs and the market for ­ever-new synthetic forms, under-age addiction—all these get sublimated in the temporary high brought on by someone rich and famous being nailed to the cross.


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