Monday, March 5, 2007

Rants and raves

So the big news from Holi is that a rave party outside Pune was busted and nearly 300 people were arrested.

I'm thinking that the palpable outrage would be somewhat subdued if these kids (or, according to the nut graf of The Hindu's front-page story, "250 youths, including 27 girls and 7 foreigners") hadn't been arrested for drug (from most accounts, ganja, hashish, and charas) offenses on a festival long known for its association with bhang, the equivalent of a pot milkshake -- there's even a government-sanctioned bhang shop in Jaisalmer.

I've just had to shut NDTV the hell off, because their nonstop coverage of the incident is insipid at best. Seriously, folks, what does it even mean if 91% of your viewers at 8:49 p.m. think that the rave and drug culture is taking hold among India's youth? It seems a bit counterproductive to try and extrapolate what this event means for a country of billions -- millions and millions of whom live on less than $2 a day, and millions and millions of whom could care less about the hip young BPO professionals and flight attendants, when they can't afford to buy onions because inflation is a bitch.

Amit Varma on the India Uncut blog makes a good point about how the news is being coopted to potentially punish a Web site (or Web sites) on which information about the party was available. And I think his argument can be made even larger: Although this could perhaps raise an interesting discussion on drug policy, the tension between "traditional" use of drugs and the commercialization of the drug trade, &c., it seems that people have found it more convenient to drone on and on about those wasteful, disillusioned youth seeking to tear down society by any means necessary. In case you haven't been following along? It's old hat, tiresome, sort of like listening to Thomas Friedman babble on about how flat the world is.

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