Disclaimer: These views are not to propagate or defend the increased drug use in Punjab. Its to provide another view point to look at things, which in the current political narrative, has been clearly lost. This is to discuss NRI Hypocrisy, not the past, current or future government of Punjab.
There’s a lot of news regarding Punjab as land of drugs these days. It has almost become a standard to say so just to fit the political narrative. It’s surprising sometimes that statistics of drug abuse are not studied fervently before passing subjective judgements. There’s specific concern regarding such issues being raised by the Punjabis residing abroad.
Yes the recreational and drug abuse has increased. It has definitely increased compared to a few years ago. Yes, with the increase of personal incomes of people, overall drug abuse has increased. But that has happened everywhere else in the world. It has happened across USA, Canada, UK and Australia.
The official numbers, according to various NGOs and Government health departments of respective countries, of the total population that used and abused banned drugs are as follows:
USA – 9% of total population (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publi…/drugfacts/nationwide-trends)
Canada – 11% of total population (http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/…/summary-sommaire-2013-eng.p…)
UK – 21% of the total population (http://www.theguardian.com/…/-sp-drug-use-is-rising-in-the-…)
Australia – 15% of the total population (http://www.smh.com.au/…/behind-australias-love-affair-with-…)
These incidentally are also the countries where NRI Punjabis live with their heads held high. These statistics show the drug users are individually much greater than the official numbers on the drug use/abuse in India, let alone Punjab.
Some uncomfortable questions need to be considered before passing judgements on the state of youth of Punjab. This interference of NRI Punjabis, who have sworn allegiance to other countries voluntarily and are leading comfortable lives abroad, are still interfering in matters of Punjab. Their comments without substantiating with any factual data is disturbing and dangerous. Dangerous because NRIs end up altering the political course of Punjab by directly funding the political party that would advance their agenda in Punjab.
Specific attention needs to be paid to Canada. There has been strong lobby of Punjabis that are living well established lives in Canada who consider Punjab now has a sixth river flowing – that of drugs. Punjabi diaspora has been deliberately and vehemently raising issues regarding the the increased drug abuse in Punjab through various organisations, social media and punjabi media (such as local punjabi radio stations, channels) based out of Brampton or Vancouver.
NRI Punjabis over-vehemently voted and brought to power Liberal Party in Canada in the 2015 elections held in Canada. They have been boasting about having more than 10 members of parliament in current Canadian government, including the first ever Sikh as the Defence Minister. One of the Liberal Party’s official agenda declared in their manifesto for Election was to legalise Cannibas (Marijuana) – which is banned by UN and more than 120 countries of the world. Check Liberal Party Manifesto Website. (http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-legalizing-pot-global-treaties-1.3390745)
Why this hypocrisy of supporting a Party in Canada that wants to legalise drugs but adopting a completely opposite stance in Punjab? Is it acceptable to do drugs if you’re in Canada/Australia/USA? What happened to the moral values of all Sikh parliamentarians when their own Liberal government wants to legalise recreational Marijuana in all of Canada? Isn’t this against our supposedly perfect Punjabi culture? Is this no Hypocrisy? We don’t see any Punjabi Organisation condemning or protesting against the same. Similarly, Why are Punjabis, living in Australia or US, not condemning such high rates of drugs in their own societies?
Other uncomfortable questions that need to be considered:
-Should NRI Punjabis not consider the fact how many Punjabi youngsters in Greater Vancouver area/Greater Toronto Area/Sydney are recreational users of drugs?
-How many Punjabis employed in the logistics and trucking sector have been charged by US border control or Canadian border control for peddling drugs across border in their trucks? What about the ones that didn’t get caught?
-How many Punjabis living abroad have had “country liquor (ghar Di kadhi sharaab)” in Australia, Canada, US with different local flavours. And how proudly they offer these among the community and boasting about their liquor making skills?
-It ll be interesting to see the bar collections of each and every single Punjabi living abroad! It’s hypocritical especially when these NRIs are the ones that bring liquor bottles from duty free to India and still suggest “bahut mada haal hai Punjab da” (Punjab’s condition is the worst ever).
There could be a few NRIs who have good intentions. But, no matter what political party these NRIs fund, we can’t say with any certainty that drug use would decrease when the new government comes in. Taking example of Goa, government after government has tried, but the recreational drug use has increased every year. Where there is demand, there is supply. No political party in Goa is forcing people to eat drugs.
Instead of funding political parties, if the same money was donated by NRIs to set up drug de-addition centres in Punjab by some NGO in last 4-5 years, we could have gone a long way in tackling this problem. We have rarely seen action by any NRI s on this front, which clearly proves that their first concern with political donations is pushing their own agenda for Punjab rather than tackling this drug problem.
It’s dangerous for me as a citizen of Punjab that a new upcoming political party in Punjab is being financed and influenced by vested interests sitting abroad, agendas for which agendas include but are not limited to Separatism, Low Taxation on NRI Investments and Political Reservation for NRIs in Punjab. We should discourage and condemn parties that make beeline for Dollars and Pounds, hold rallies abroad, make promises to lobbies sitting abroad, make their party cells abroad and Malign & Defame opinion through social media campaigns and accept NRI conditions for funding their campaigns in Punjab.
Only God knows what promises these new political parties have made to these foreign financiers, and how it will affect us in the coming days.
-A Concerned Voter of Punjab