59 gram cannabis is all it takes to send India into a stupor
The Narcotics Control Bureau and the Indian media collectively focused the majority of their time and energy to make arrests in a case that allegedly involved 59 grams of marijuana. After all if not for the 59 grams that Rhea allegedly procured, India would never have discovered marijuana. It is not as if cannabis finds mentions in our ancient scripts or traditional medicinal recipes that we revere as holy, or is consumed as bhaang by entire families during festivals
We need some reasons to cheer at the moment, for these are trying times. India has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world and the death toll is inching towards 74,000. Moreover, tensions are escalating between Indian and Chinese forces along the Himalayan border, with reports of shots being fired for the first time in 45 years. The country's gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 23.9 per cent amid the lockdown, in one of the sharpest contractions in the world.
And the much-needed cheer came to us -- with eerie similarities to a Bollywood potboiler -- in the form of the arrest of 28-year-old Rhea Chakraborty, actor and girlfriend of late Bollywood star Sushant Singh Rajput.
Rhea, who was investigated by three central agencies for abetment to suicide and money laundering, was arrested for being an “active member of a drug syndicate”. The agency claimed in its remand application that Rhea used to “procure drugs for Sushant Singh Rajput for consumption purposes”.
We rose in jubilation as she was arrested. Sushant was also consuming the drug but it was Rhea who was wearing a t-shirt that read “smash patriarchy”. Can you imagine wearing a t-shirt that calls for equality in this day and age? The general public and the media rose in outrage over her "arrogance". Imagine being worried about your sartorial choices that send out a message while reporters are shoving microphones in your face each time you step out, said the appalled public. It is almost like focusing your entire airtime on the WhatsApp chats of a late actor when over 10,000 farmers and farm labourers died by suicide across the country in a year.
#RheaArrestedForDrugs. DrugChats first reported by me on @TimesNow. Even as CBI & ED were investigating. @dir_ed handed the narcotics investigation to @narcoticsbureau. ‘Smelt’ the story first & today reporting arrest of #Rhea. Time for questions on #real journalism. ????— Navika Kumar (@navikakumar) September 8, 2020
But we digress.
The Narcotics Control Bureau and the Indian media collectively focused the majority of their time and energy to make arrests in a case that allegedly involved 59 grams of marijuana. After all if not for the 59 grams that Rhea allegedly procured, India would never have discovered marijuana. It is not as if cannabis finds mentions in our ancient scripts or traditional medicinal recipes that we revere as holy, or is consumed as bhaang by entire families during festivals. Maybe if Rhea belonged to such a country, its citizens would have been baffled by the incessant news coverage and prolonged central investigation over 59 grams of cannabis. But not us. Our ‘nation wants to know’ and Rhea’s cannabis consumption is right on top of the list.
But since the central agencies are on a case cracking spree, they may also need to make a pitstop at a few other places across the country. A Hindustan Times report from April 2020 says that a total of 309 cases were registered by the Punjab Police under the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. In April alone, over 22 kg of heroin and more than 527 kg of poppy husk were seized in Punjab since the imposition of the national lockdown on March 23.
According to the report “Magnitude of Substance Abuse in India” that was released in February 2019 by the Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry, in collaboration with the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) of the Delhi-based All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), there are 7,20,000 drug users in Punjab.
Maybe the public and the media who focused on getting #ArrestRhea to trend on social media can now focus on getting NCB to focus its undivided attention on the drug issue in Punjab. If you need a Bollywood incentive, the subject is the point of focus in Abhishek Chaubey’s 2016 film Udta Punjab. Why a four-year-old film? Because with this case we have learnt that messages shared a decade ago and friends who haven’t met you for years are “very very crucial” to determining your current struggles.
But fair warning, Alia Bhatt plays a prominent role in Udta Punjab. Now we don't like Alia because during the “parents choosing ceremony,” she chose to be born to director-producer Mahesh Bhatt. Having committed such a heinous crime, we must boycott her. Every time she or any member of the industry with prior connections appear on screen we must cover our eyes. We must only watch content with outsiders like Sushant and Rhea (oops?!).
Let’s decide who’s cuter!— Kangana Ranaut (@KanganaTeam) July 28, 2020
Dumb 10th fail non actor alia or genius Physics Olympiad winner genuinely good actor Sushant? are we going to get likes from filmi A listers ? Let’s see ???? pic.twitter.com/bfZycBpagB
To avoid watching “products of nepotism” that the unbiased Indian media and public hate, you may step outside (with a mask) and buy a black cloth from any garment store that is not a family-owned business. Also, do not use your Jio sim to book any Tata Motors vehicles for a ride to the store. (Both Reliance and Tata allow family members to be part of their business).
Now if all that proves difficult, you can always borrow the cloth that the Indian media uses to cover their mouths and eyes when asked to discuss the economy, national security or the pandemic. And if that cloth starts to feel like a gag, do not blame the poor Made in China cloth. That has less to do with the cloth and more to do with our conscience.
(The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Asiaville.)