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Punjab’s Bitter Harvest

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Archived_Member16, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    source: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/10456/punjabs-bitter-harvest.html

    Punjab’s bitter harvest

    Once a vibrant countryside, rural Punjab now lives in a dazed stupor with an alarming increase in the number of drug addicts, reports Krishna Kumar V R

    Sunday 20 September 2009

    [​IMG]
    Stooping lifelessly amidst lush green fields in Tarn Taran’s Narli village in Punjab, a stone’s throwaway from Indo-Pak border, Sukhwinder Singh, 29, curses the day he first touched heroin. His pale eyes well up as he bites his thin lips constantly to stifle snivel. I have killed myself, he grieves.

    Easy accessibility of drugs owing to proximity with Pakistan border and relentless habit of using a cocktail of drugs has made Sukhwinder pay a heavy price. An AIDS patient now, he buries his face in his hands: “I’ve nothing to look forward to in life. What will I do?”

    Sukhwinder’s is a despairingly familiar story in today’s Punjab, that has been engulfed by the all-pervading malady of drug addiction. Vibrant Punjab, which once ushered in the Green Revolution, is today living in a dazed stupor, as 67 per cent of the rural households in the state have at least one drug addict, a survey conducted by the Department of Social Security Development of Women and Children reveals.

    Once an affluent village in the heart of Amritsar, Maqboolpura has come to be known as a widow village, where almost every home has lost some of its male members to the menace of drugs.

    Drug use-related infection of AIDS took its toll on Sukhwinder’s world as he lost his wife and second daughter due to complicated illnesses. His first son died two years ago. He lost all the six close friends who were constant companions of his dreadful revelries. “Now, I am awaiting my turn,” he weeps, regretting the doom he has brought upon himself and his family.

    The quintessential scene of sturdy Punjabi munda (boy) sporting a bright pagadi (turban) with high-spirited life and charm moving in a tractor around lush fields in the village is, unfortunately, a picture of distant past.

    The vibrancy of Punjab is a myth. Here many sell their blood to procure the daily dose of deadly drugs, and even beg on the streets to keep their addiction alive.

    Sukhwinder was once caught by the in-charge of a blood bank when he visited the hospital on the pretext of donating blood. He was there, in fact, to sell it. His skeletal structure, pallor, deep sunken eyes, and particularly the multiple injection marks on his arms, gave him away, telling the tale of his notorious past.

    It is no longer a question of a village getting ruined. The whole state is in the stranglehold of this death trap, informs Virsa Singh Valtoha, ruling party MLA of Valtoha constituency that covers 96 km of Indo-Pak border.

    The youth gets lured into the world of drugs by first tasting bhuki, which grows like wild grass and is freely available in the fields. Or they take to gutka or tobacco pouches. “The problem is of epidemic proportions in the rural areas where unemployment is rampant,” says a patron of Punarjyot, an NGO working for the welfare of youth in Punjab. “A whole generation is as good as destroyed. Not a single village is without its score of drug addicts.”

    Once hooked, these young men graduate to cough syrups like phansydril and corex, proxyvon, dormant 10, diszepham tablets. From this stage they proceed to more potent menu of opium, charas, ganja, mandrax, smack, heroin, lizards’ tails and many more substance like quaint application of shoe polish, smelling petrol and consuming iodex spread on bread to get that heady feeling.

    “Peer influence, thrill-seeking and curiosity about drugs were found to be the main factors promoting drug abuse among youth,” observes an official of Spring Dale Senior School, Amritsar. With the consumption of intoxicants having become so widespread, an introduction to them is treated as some kind of a coming-of-age ceremony by most boys.

    “The story of drug addiction begins out of a curious adventure and soon turns into a sordid nightmare. I have seen my colleague’s son selling off his land and his wife’s jewellery to procure his daily dose,” says Surinderpal Singh, an English teacher at a Government School in Narli. “It is really frightening as he sometimes asks his mother to shoot him dead so as to save him from this misery.”

    The spread of AIDS, too, is linked with the malady due to sharing of syringes. The death rate and the HIV positive cases have increased in Punjab by 60 percent due to widespread use of intoxicants. Reports say within just one year, hundreds of youth have lost their lives to drugs.

    The scene is worsening rapidly, say medical experts and social workers, due to the growth of illegal chemists shops which supply some of these substances. Even a small village with a population of about 2,000 has at least 10 to 12 chemist shops, without any physician or general practitioner nearby.

    Abetting crime
    Many chemists are surviving on addicts as they provide drugs without prescription. “Injectible intoxicants, tablets and syrups are easily available,” says Dr Deepak Sahdev, of EMC Super Specialty Hospital, Amritsar. Even many of the so-called de-addiction centres are actually proving to be addiction centres, which are found to be supplying drugs to the inmates.

    “A misconception about de-addiction is being spread in Punjab. Some advertisements are ridiculously promising de-addiction treatment with laser therapy,” says Debasish Basu, Professor, Drug De-addiction Centre at PGIMER (Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research), Chandigarh. Most of the privately run de-addiction centres lack basic facilities and are there just to mint money.

    Media reports have often revealed inhuman treatment of drug addicts at private de-addiction centres where they are even chained and beaten mercilessly on the pretext of maintaining discipline.

    In Mohali, near the state’s capital Chandigarh, a youth was recently dumped at the gate of his home by the workers of a local de-addiction centre after he developed complications. He later died. The Punjab government has, of late, started cracking down on the illegal de-addiction centres.

    The increase in the number of patients at the Drug De-addiction Centre, PGIMER, Chandigarh, is alarming, as the institute gets 1,000 patients at walk-in clinics every year, while 500 patients are registered at OPD. Nearly 250 addicts are treated as in-patients. “Drug addiction is a chain reaction. One person ropes in others,” explains Dr Basu.

    Vikas, a student of BBA, narrates the dreadful experience he underwent when he had tried to rope in his batchmates to attend a seminar on the issue. “They sought smacks as compensation,” says Vikas. “They also forced me take some pills bought from a nearby chemist. Thank God, somehow I managed to escape.”

    Even women are not safe from the tentacles of drug menace. Kirat, a dental student in Dera Bassi, says many of her friends sail through the strain and pressure of examinations with the help of “some stuff.” A cigarette break is quite normal. “Pills are also available if you need more stamina,” she says. Girls also prefer cough syrups to other forms of intoxicants, thanks to young peddlers, mostly boyfriends.

    Smuggling and narco-terrorism are a natural corollary of drug menace. Many addicts make a few quick bucks through drug-trafficking. “We are able to confiscate only 10 percent of the smuggled narcotic substances. Rest is consumed by the market,” reveals a senior official at Narcotic Control Bureau in Chandigarh. There are recoveries occasionally, but they are not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

    For many long years, Punjab was only a transit point for drugs from Afghanistan, which were being routed to other parts of the world or metropolitan cities in the country. Punjab is no more just a transit point. “Drugs from Afghanistan are being sold in Punjab itself and the youth in large numbers have joined the cartel,” says the Narcotic Control Bureau official.

    Drug trafficking has increased by at last 30-40 percent in the last year ever since cross-border civilian movement increased between India and Pakistan. Late last year in Phagwara, the Punjab Police recovered 50 kg heroin worth Rs 250 crore in the international market from a young brother-sister duo. “International drug cartel and terrorists operating from neighbouring countries are actively involved in drug smuggling,” says a police official.

    The Narcotic Control Bureau, Chandigarh, reports that the number of registered cases of heroin smuggling has increased since 1998 and over 1,200 kg of the drug seized during the same period. The report also suggests that cocaine, charas, methaqualone, ephedrine, acetic anhydride and amphetamine are some of the other drugs flowing in. Opium pilfered from certain parts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where cultivation of poppy is licensed is also making its way into Punjab.

    Social activists, however, believe that a police-level drive is not sufficient to deal with the situation. “War against drug menace cannot be fought in a piecemeal fashion,” believes Manjeet Singh, professor, Department of Sociology, Panjab University. “People have to wake up to the gravity of the situation. Punjab takes pride in its Green Revolution, we need another revolution now to rid the state of drug menace.”


    For Sukhwinder Singh, however, it is already too late.
     
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  3. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Re: Punjab’s bitter harvest

    Punjab has deserted the GURUS TEACHINGS..and hankered after the False Dehdharee Gurus..and their "agents" who are also present in "Gurdwaras" with the SGGS ostensibly parkash..BUT ignored as to Following the Teachings...the SGGS is just for SHOW.
    Where it used to be said that every sq inch of Punjab is wet with the pure blood of martyrs..NOW every cm of Punjabi soil is full of DRUGS and ALCOHOL.
    Punjabis must go back to their GURU ROOTS.:thumbup::thumbup:
     
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  4. harbansj24

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    Re: Punjab’s bitter harvest

    Guru Gobind Singh ji had said:

    Jab Lag Khalsa Rahe Niara, Tab Lag Tej Dioon Mein Sara
    Jab Eh Gaye Bipran Ki Reet, Mein Na Karoon In Ki Parteet.

    So the spirit of Guru Gobind Singh ji has deserted the the people of Punjab.
    But then we do not also take into consideration above warning of Guruji also, since it is a part of DG and hence is a suspect!

    So too are all stirring verses such as :

    De Shiva Var Mohe....


    Rehanee rahe, Sohee Sikh mera.....


    Mae hoon param purakh ko data....


    Miter pyare nu....


    These are the verses which sustained the Khalsa spirit in Punjab. We have created so many controversies around these that the youth in Punjab is totally confused. All the legends surrounding Guru Gobind Singh ji have come under scanner including Nitnem Banis, Rehatnama, 5 Ks. Interested persons also demand the evidence of Guruji anointing SGGS as the living Guru of Sikhs since there is only verbal evidence of a few persons who were with him at the time of his passing away!

    Narayanjot ji, I think we can have and interesting discussion on this topic.

    " Punjab today: Has the spirit of Guru Gobind Singh deserted the people of Punjab?"

     
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  5. spnadmin

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    Re: Punjab’s bitter harvest

    Well I hope we do have a good discussion, harbhans ji. The topics raised are very serious issues. In the US the problems of drug addiction hit every social class, every ethnic group,men and women, as do the related problems of drug associated HIV infection. It may be useless to talk about why and how it all began. It may not matter what started this deadly trend. It might make more sense to talk about how to begin to solve this problem, and to look at strategies that have worked. But know full well that drug addiction once it takes hold in communities is very difficult to resolve.
     
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  6. Satyaban

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    Re: Punjab’s bitter harvest

    Namaste

    In my city it is said that one in six is an addict and I don't think alcoholics are included. A positive is that it is considered a disease by the courts and those who get busted, who is all of them, can get treatment if they ask. Suboxone is also very easy to get. Baltimore has always been a heroin town but crack has done more damage than heroin ever could.

    Peace
    Satyaban
     
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  7. AusDesi

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    Re: Punjab’s Bitter Harvest

    drugs start at school here in Sydney. I remember kids doing weed at school. Then they moved to stronger drugs.

    At the moment, i know a few who do ecstasy and that will only get worse.
     
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  8. Lee

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    It is a stciky wicket and no mistake. What to do, what to do?

    It is clear that prohibition simply does not work, so perhaps education?
     
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  9. AusDesi

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    Re: Punjab’s Bitter Harvest

    and change of the culture. Punjabi culture is full of sharab. Just watch the songs. 20% are about Alcohol.

    I am drinker btw. I think moderation is the key. Unless ofcourse you shouldn't be drinking according to religion.
     
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  10. Lee

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    Changes in culture, well that comes at it's own pace I think.
     
  11. Satyaban

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    Re: Punjab’s Bitter Harvest

    Aus ji

    I have to say I am surprised:confused: I do not drink but I am much older than you and lost my taste for it 23 years ago. Perhaps you can read other experiences in a previous post.

    Om shanti shanti
     
    #10 Satyaban, Sep 26, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
  12. AusDesi

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    Re: Punjab’s Bitter Harvest


    I have grasped the taste for the 'stuff' but lost the taste for the 'feeling'. I don't drink to get drunk anymore. Just to test out the flavours of different wines, liquors etc.

    I know the consequences of it and have had a number of experiences which made me lose the attraction to alcohol. Having said that, If I hadn't been drinking I would not have realised how bad it is for people.
     
  13. Satyaban

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    Manish ji

    I am not finding nor looking for faults. Far be it from me to do such a thing. On a personal level I have found it brutal and expensive to gain experiencial knowledge that I could have learned if only I observed others through their eyes. But no, I looked down, looked away or laughed, I was so unaware.

    Om shanti shanti Om
    Satyaban
     
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  14. ac_marshall

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    It would need collective proactive effort to curb narco terror. These bitter harvests are also common in the eastern states of India. It is a problem common to all border states. One way of curbing this menace that I suggest is to announce rewards for catching the smugglers. I re-iterate that narcotics is not a problem of 1 state or 1 religion. Almost every religion that I know abolishes narcotics. No problem in the present globalized world can be solved with narrow regionalistic approaches. Let atleast the religious organizations such as VHP, SGPC, Wakf Board, etc join hands to curb this menace. I'm sure that if these boards can show unity in tackling the social evils and abstain from interfering with each others affairs most of the social evils can be eliminated.
     
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  15. Satyaban

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    AC ji

    There is too much money involved to solve the problem by law enforcement. The human desire for escape will always be there so a socio-legal scheme needs to be worked out. If you take the money out of it you take the crime out of it, Without the crime you have less folks in lock up and the whole criminal justice system.

    In other words the game will go on with or without the crime, so save the money and spend it on education.

    Peace
    Satyaban
     
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  16. spnadmin

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    I am also tempted to say -- from the experience in the West -- that much of the organized drug dealing through cartels at the distribution end -- is related to the illegal purchase and distribution of weapons for a wide range of political insurgencies worldwide.

    This was true some years back when the Irish Republican Army was being armed through cartels here in the US. And more recently the same picture emerges with Mexican and Central American drug cartels on both the North and South America continents.
     
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  17. Sikh royalist

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    most of the heroin is coming from Afghanistan through Pakistan the border security forces are full of corrupt soldiers who can do anything for money they can make people cross the border heroin is still a little thing.
    i think in Punjab bathinda is the area where addicts can be found in large numbers.
    one of the solution is spreading "naam da nasha" those who are intoxicated with "naam" need no further intoxicant.:happykaur:
     
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  18. spnadmin

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    Drug dealing at the top of the food chain is a well-organized and sturdy business venture, set up like a multinational corporation. Sometimes the "top officers" in these operations look like honest business men with offices and staff. Money made in one part of the world, say Afghanistan, is funneled to another city in a different country, maybe from there to parts in Europe and/or the US. Secret bank accounts are common. So are operatives that "arrange" business deals (drug money for arms purchases). The money to be made is not only from drugs, but from other money-making schemes that the profits from drugs can buy. These are high-rollers who have their hands in politics and multi-million dollar business schemes.
     
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  19. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Re: Punjab’s Bitter Harvest

    The Real trouble is that the places supposed to provide FREE Naam da nasha..have resorted to "SELLING DILUTED NAAM DA NASHA" (Gurdwaras and Takhats).....and the rest has been monopolised by the even WORSE..they provide TOTALLY FAKE Naam da Nasha (Dehdharee Gurus/Deras). Genuine Naam da Nasha is arare commodity...available ONLY to "members Only"...where the location is Unknown..the teacher is unknown..the time is unknown...the method is unknown..all depends on SELF DISCOVERY and PERSEVERENCE...while the FAKES, the Diluters, the ADULTERATORS, the Pirates abound and stand at every corner hawking their wares openly and loudly..even PERSISTENTLY...and their Marketing stategy is such..(HUGE CROWDS) that almost every one is thrilled...wah..so many followers..this Guru must be the right one.....MIRAGE !!! MIRAGE..and more MIRAGE..till One fine day,..death comes a calling..and its too late...
     
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  20. Satyaban

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    Nmaste
    I have become confused. What is "Naam da nasha"?

    Peace
    Satyaban
     
  21. Sikh royalist

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    satyaban sat shri akal,
    brother actually naam in Punjabi literally means name but here it refers to the name of almighty what so ever name you choose for the god is your naam in olden days there was a tradition under which a guru will give naam to his shishya but when they were alone and the guru would whisper it in the ear of his shishya the radha soamis and nirankaris today call it bhramgyan or bhram darshan which of course is not correct.our lord jagat guru Guru Nanak gave naam to this world to every man without any restriction which is not common till this date.to his Sikhs he gave the naam waheguru the word around which our faith revolves every single belief revolves around waheguru as the centre.

    naam has a very intoxicating effect our master Guru Nanak considered it to be the most intoxicating thing in the sense that who so ever becomes its addict cannot survive without it you wont get naam in bazaar(market) no where in this world but through your inner self when naam is to be consumed simran is done that is contemplation on the gods name

    this concept is entirely different from some concepts like concepts in buddhism where they do not use naam but only dhyan i hope you got it.

    Guru Nanak was the biggest addict of naam and one of its biggest and greatest dealer henceforth i ask him for naam daat
    he was so addict that he was compelled to write "naam khumari naanka chadi rawe din raat" may i become an addict of your name my lord in the day and in the night
     
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