Few decades earlier the world knew Assamese youths as milestones of revolution or with thoughts of social changes. By history, world knows Assamese youths as Patriotic and devoted for Society & Motherland. And now, change itself changed it’s way & impact. Assamese youths were really fed up with Gun Fights, Battles, Bloodshed & decade old patriotism, in last 10 years. It is no more strange that Assamese youths now a days feel shame for their historical identity. Their historical identity stood as the barrier in their wings of hope, so they had to be changed, as change is always call of nature.
Kimanor score korili (How much did you score of!) – asked Arnab, 23 working in an MNC. His friend Biman, aged 22 years, student of Delhi University replied “Just 100 rupees worth poo, Rizla and few cigarettes.” Here comes some of the new ideal, thoughts & identity of Assamese youth.
If you happen to be someone not younger than thirties you might be wondering what the above means. I assure you, every young one from Assam who is studying or working in metros or big cities outside the state knows exactly what it means. Poo (or Japoo) is the Assamese youth’s popular code-word for Ganja, Rizla is the smoking paper used to roll a joint of Ganja and the most comically, to score here means to buy and bring some stuff from the peddler! Just being an onlooker into the lives of the youth from Assam and Northeastern states putting up in the metros or reputed educational destinations will prove the large pioneers of Marijuana (ganja) culture amongst them. And this number is increasing at an alarming rate. Be it be a guy or girl, student or young professional, the affinity to ganja has almost become a syndrome for majority of non-resident Assamese youths, so much so that a good party or weekend definition for many is incomplete without few rounds of Ganja joints passed from one other. Better still, the stuff has to be of good quality, – Manala Cream (The famous Hashish from Manali), Black Parvati (Black Hashish that comes from Parvati valley of the Himalayas), Manipuri Ganja, etc are reputed to be the most popular ones. The popular way of smoking up too seems to have changed, with joints made from Smoking papers (e.g. Rizla, OCB, etc) taking over traditional Chillums and various new styles of smoking getting into practice. Bottles half filled with water, called Bongs (something similar to traditional hookahs) are used to intake high amount of liquefied ganja-smoke. Even water buckets (yes, the ones used for bathing!) are used for higher amount of smoke intake, calling it Smoke on the Water!
An obvious question so far would be, – How is an illegal thing so widely available? To answer this, a small investigation from Times of Assam reveals a few of the popular locations for Assamese youths where Ganja is purchased. It’s evident that the Illegal part is only in papers and books, not in practice.
- Mumbai: Turbhe Market (Navi Mumbai),Panvel (Near ONGC Colony where huge number of Assamese live), Vashi Sector 11, Goregaon East (Near HUB mall), Ghatkopar (Near Railway Station), Andheri (Even Home delivery by agents available)
- Delhi: Near Jantar Mantar, Near Jawaharlal Univesity campus, Ashram,Lajpat Nagar, Munirka, North campus
- Gurgaon: Kapashera border (market behind Police station), Sector 22
- Nagpur: Ambazari Hilltop, Hingna Road (Behind Hingna Police station), Wardha Road (Behind South Point school), Raju Nagar (Near some premier Engineering colleges)
- Chennai: Near SRM University, Taramani, Adayar
- Bangalore: Hosur Road, near Majestic Cinema Market
To analyze the root cause of the increasing love for Ganja, we had approached various circles of Assamese youth who are deeply addicted. Following are the three basic reasons why our youth take to smoking ganja:
- Better than Alcohol: Ganja has always been defined as a happy drugs, i.e. something which does not cause you to get violent, cry out with emotion or kill someone in a drunken state. Unlike alcohol, the smoker does not walk zigzag, speaks with twisted tongue or smells foul at all. Moreover it’s cheaper than alcohol. While it would take some thousand grands for a few friends to get drunk in a party, the same high can be obtained by all of them in probably just few joints worth fifty or hundred of ganja. And better still,– there are no hangovers next morning!
- Rock n Roll Culture: The youth of Assams (especially Guwahati) and Northeastern states have a high inclination towards rock music, preferring rock over traditional Bollywood or Indian music (In the race to be different than others) and most of the bands which they prefer are somehow associated with ganja smoking. Be it be the classics of Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Doors or Bob Marley, there is a reputation state where most devoted followers of their music preaches to enjoy them when one is high on Ganja. In fact the psychedelic music by the most popular band, Pink Floyd has been so associated with Marijuana that followers actually claim “You won’t understand Pink Floyd till you are high”. Needless to say, we have a lot of us who now understands Floyd more and more!
- Dekhak Dekhi (Seeing others): This is probably the truest reason why there are hardly any non smokers of Marijuana nowadays. “Everyone does, why not me” is always the state of a young mind exposed to the dirty secrets of life, and needless to say, this is the most dangerous of all reasons.
Without diving into the actual medical terminologies, we all claim that Marijuana or Ganja addiction is bad for health. There are innumerable theories and reasons stating the adverse effects of this soft drug, but say that to a pioneer of ganja and you will be shocked to hear some surprising replies. There are big statements from these passionate followers of a forbidden drug claiming that Marijuana actually has several medical benefits including Cancer Treatment, Seizures, Glaucoma, Migraines, Alzheimer’s etc. In fact many of them cite examples of countries where Marijuana is legalized (Netherlands for example) or where doctors advise patients to smoke it in some instances. No wonder whether Marijuana should be legalized is a debatable issue, if not now then in future. The government can never have an answer if we ask them why alcohol or smoking tobacco is not made illegal when ganja smoking or cultivation is illegal or why drugs like Zyprexa are legal for medical treatment when it is known to cause pancreatic damage called Ketosis, which then destroys in a chain reaction the kidneys, liver, etc. For the youth of a country who idolizes America or the west more than anything, it would not be surprising if our youth of tomorrow comes to demand legalization of marijuana or ganja. The demand is already strongly on in several western nations, including the USA. In our part of the world, it has reasons to get all the stronger, with religion favoring the phenomenon Lord Shiva. There were recent reports in Assamese print and tele-media which reported high cultivation of ganja in the riverbanks of Brahmaputra by illegal migrants. If inclinations to ganja in our youth continue to increase in this alarming rate, there would not be a day far off when politics too will have a new ball (called Legalization of ganja) in our courtyard to play around with. Besides, Ganja is strictly non-capitalistic commodity too, for a matter of fact!
Angaraag Mahanta, no wonder, is the new youth sensation of Assam, bringing in a new revolution in the music industry like a fresh breath of air. Being the youth icon of Assam, he bears enormous responsibility on his shoulders to lead our youth in the right direction. However his songs Banao Banao and Keep Rolling which are phenomenally popular among the youth (made available through internet uploads) speaks about smoking and promoting ganja. Whether he prefers smoking it or not is a personal choice, whether you like the song or not is personal as well. But whether the message conveyed through the two songs is a good one, is really a question. We don’t want to say to our youth Paharoon mein so weed hai, Keep rolling (A stanza from the Song Keep Rolling). Do we? To have a better answer, we would only appeal to the wiser ones, in the same way Angaraag appeals to the almighty Gunee janako disha dikha deh oh mere parmatma (Show the way to the wise, o’ Almighty).