By Shraddha Nyati:
So it is the morning after ‘Udta Punjab’ and needless to say the rang-de-basanti mind is speeding furiously. I am hoping the movie is an exaggeration of the state of affairs in Punjab. Because if it isn’t then it’s a very sensitive issue to be handled (and not discussed or made a political issue) as soon as possible.
Having stayed in Delhi for a long time, Punjab for me has been a state with lassi and sarson da saag. I have known about the drug addiction problem for long and I never believed that it is confined to only one state. I always knew that it is something that spans the entire world. But never did I think that the problem infiltrates almost every strata of our societies and mind you, it has nothing to do with just one state. The problem may be grave in Punjab but it is there everywhere.
The youth which is the fuel of this developing country is actually lying half-dead with injections in some gutters and corners. The jugaad that always has been a catalyst in the Indian scenario has been working in the best possible ways driving drugs into the hands of the vulnerable youth. The big size of families probably makes it all the more difficult to pay attention to any strange activities by kids. And the stress faced by the youth at every level makes them weaker and drives them towards this heaven of ecstasy.
Aisa bhi kya stress, you ask. Well, to start with, the very question is stressful making the youth believe that their tensions are baseless and they are useless shit. Right from the start, a child is faced with constant struggles; some of which the elders never realise.
Padhai nahi karoge toh kamaoge kaise? Duniya kaise ijjat degi? (How will you earn if you don’t study? Who will respect you?)
You have to score good marks in 10th, because it will decide your career.
Score well in 12th, that will decide your life.
College me padhai nahi karoge toh naukri kaise milegi? (If you don’t study in college, how will you get a job?)
Even after you have settled down in your job, there is the consistent stress of achieving targets and appraisals. Even at a personal level, we seem to have grown dissatisfied with our achievements and always aim for our passions, our calling. This wait of a call from our calling has driven the youth into restlessness. They are not content even on their comfy beds because there is always that nagging sound from within the heart to do something better. And this growing discontent has made them turn towards these secondary addictions which may not make them overcome their problems but at least make them forget them for a while.
But the important question is whether we can put the entire blame on the youth? I believe that the demand for a particular thing sustains itself only if there is a supply. Here comes the role of security personnel especially the police officers. While watching the movie, the attitude of police officers at the toll booth gave me goosebumps, especially when they were trading for nights to be spent “on” the petite girl from Bihar (Alia Bhatt). If this is the state of the people who are supposed to be the guardians of our society, then I feel really scared being a girl. I may start questioning my existence.
The movie may be a work of fiction, but it is high time that we address these issues irrespective of the state.
The movie also depicts the role of higher officials in this dhanda. If this is how it actually is then it is something to worry about. And, moreover, we cannot totally ignore the fact that every now and then scams and ghotale are laid bare in front of the people. We keep questioning the tours and travels of Modi, our very own Prime Minister who won by a majority. But in a democracy where we have the right to choose our own head, isn’t it our responsibility to be honest in our own dealings? When we are ourselves corrupt and take to unethical ways to achieve selfish motives, how can we point fingers at someone who we have elected ourselves? And these officials fail to realise that they are leaders of a growing India, the youngest country, and are spoiling its growth for their selfish motives.
Next to be taken into account is the ease of access to drugs. India is located at the most fertile place for drugs, being sandwiched between the ‘golden crescent’ and the ‘golden triangle’, the areas with the highest opium production. It probably becomes easy for drug dealers to traffic drugs through porous borders. Almost all the modes of transport have been actively used for transportation of drugs concealed in various ways. These are then made available to the local people through jugaad as we all know. And those who don’t, visit Goa, you will know! Such easy access makes the drug abusers more active and they sustain their habit.
Let us face a hard fact, the victims aren’t just these drug abusers. The real victims are the families who lose their children to these drugs. A few bundles of currency is enough to buy a kid’s life. This is not the society our forefathers might have dreamt about.
How can we blame only the youth for something that they get hooked on to due to larger forces operating in society? And it is a matter of concern that people here, including me, find it difficult to see the truth. It’s not who we are, it’s what we end up as! Let’s make our lives beautiful and work towards making someone else’s life beautiful as well. If not the whole world, at least one person’s life.
Featured image is a still from ‘Udta Punjab’.