Chitralekha Gujarati issue dated 16th March 2015
Watch “Editor’s Audio Note” on YouTube -
Drug Menace: Swallowing the Young Ones :
With the festival of Holi approaching, it would be no surprise if the drug intake in the country shoots up, as Holi and intoxication traditionally go hand in hand. High on drug or liquor or even homegrown bhang, people revel in the festival in gay and unrestrained abandon. Be it cocaine or a new formulation interestingly called meow meow, it has infected a large number of youths of present generation. Given the widespread use of drug Chitralekha issue dated 16 March 2015.
like marijuana, a few countries are revisiting the laws governing its intake. The cover story (by Sunil Mevada) in the latest issue of Chitralekha touches upon this subject, examining the aftermath of the liberalization of drug laws and its effect and implication.
With the rising incidence of confiscation of contraband drugs, authorities have begun to suspect that Gujarat is on the radar of the drug lords of the world. It is estimated that there are about 1.75 lakh drug addicts in Mumbai alone and an average of 200 kgs of drugs is confiscated every day.
However, the new drug ‘meow meow’ caught the maximum city by storm last year. Though the government has banned the drug, it has already done the damage by spreading its tentacles especially among the younger generation. As the funnily named Meow meow or Mephedrone is affordable, its penetration among the young people has been quite alarming.
The age group of drug addicts hitherto was 18 to 25, but the emergence of mephedrone in the drug landscape has succeeded in lowering the age group by as many as 6 years, since it took the young students under its lethal hold. What is scary is the fact that even 11-12 year old children have been found in the new club of addicts. The new drug first made its appearance early last year and by the end of 2014, its vicious grip was total. However, with the ban on it being enforced, damage-control exercise is already afoot.
The history of drug use of abuse is very ancient in India, dating back to thousands of years. With opium and Indian hemp being naturally available, its use among people is understandable. Colloquially, people tend to club dawa-daru together, implying that intoxicating items were often used for medicinal purposes.
Drug abuse is a global menace. Last year the body of Oscar winning Hollywood actor Philip Hoffman was found with injection syringes lying near. When it was concussively established that the cause of death was drug overuse, it drove home the alarming level of penetration of drug even in the elitist section of society. The list of celebrities addicted to drugs is long. A large number of heroine packs were found near the actor’s body. The new figures are startling: nearly 25000 die of drug abuse.
Even Obama has gone on record confessing having used opium early in his life. In one of the interviews, he has said that liquor addiction is far more harmful than opium intake. And there is some element of truth in this assertion. There have been earlier evidence to this effect, but the findings of the latest research point out that alcohol is 114 times fatal than opium. And these new findings have spawned a few apologists of marijuana. Those advocating this drug point out that it is safe to use marijuana. Attempts have been afoot for decades to legalize restricted use of marijuana within the ambit of law.
The movement has been intensified for the past few months and America has taken a lead in taking initiative in this direction. Despite the strong resistance of social activists, some significant progress is being made in the direction of legalization of use of this drug. Even people at large are being sought to be involved in this process.
When Obama gave an unsolicited advice on secularism, the American President mercifully refrained from advising Indian government on legalization of drug, the story makes a tongue-in-cheek reference to Obama’s uncalled for comment on India’s internal affairs.
The cover story has a revealing interview of Suhas Gokhale, senior inspector of Anti-narcotics Cell-South Unit. Also, the intriguing Rastaferi movement prevalent in Jamaica has been has been touched upon in another box.
The timely and topical story on drug abuse is a revelation.
Holi: 35 Shades of Celebration
It is a very revealing story by Mahesh Shah about how Holi is celebrated in different ways in Gujarat. As the title suggests the festival of colours is celebrated in 35 possible ways in Gujarat. The figure is not just a random survey, it is the result of an extensive research carried out by Hridaynath Ghari Khan, a well-known filmmaker and director. For instance, while Holi is ignited elsewhere with the help of matchbox, in Siddhpur, it is done with a magnifying glass.
In the same town which had a long history of communal riot, a joint celebration by Hindu and Muslims has managed to restore peace for years.
Confilctorium: A Museum of Conflict
This is a museum with a difference. Mahesh Shah takes us on a guided tour of a museum that showcases the narratives of ordinary people and communities rather than nations. In this way it vastly differs in terms of concept as well as the artifacts displayed from conventional museums.
The idea of saying sorry to tree is very touching, among other things mentioned in the story. In an accompanying box, Ketan Mistry recalls his visit to the Museum of Tolerance that tells the story of grave injustices of hatred and racial discrimination perpetrated by powerful ones on unsuspecting victims. For instance, the story of Holocaust that portrays the moving and agonizing ethnic cleansing of jews resorted to by Germans.
Transcreator Par Excellence
The issue also carries a profile by Kiran Raivadera of late Ramnikbhai Meghani who in his lifetime has translated as many as 30 literary creations of Bengali literature, thereby creating and strengthening a bridge between the Bengalis and Gujaratis of Kolkata. The write up is a tribute to the multifaceted creator whose centennial year falls in 2015.
Besides, the issue also carries Political & Humour columns, Palak, Cardiogram, Priyadarshini, new chapter of novelette, Health Helpline, Jalsaghar and Mukhwas
Never slap on the cheeks of a Paan-chewing man..!!