Drug Use Grows in India
Posted by Childress on June 12, 2006
It sounds like the stuff of a Bollywood film, but the story's all too true:
A charismatic politician, touted as a future prime minister, is gunned down by his brother in a jealous rage.
On the way to immerse the leader's ashes in a sacred river, his playboy son stops at a party where he and a friend snort cocaine and heroin. The cocktail kills the friend and leaves the playboy facing a lengthy jail term.
It sounds like the stuff of Bollywood, but this is the real-life fall from grace of Rahal Mahajan, the 31-year-old son of the late Pramod Mahajan of the Bharatiya Janata Party, India's leading opposition group.
While his father's murder last month was in many ways the staple fare of India's turbulent political scene, his own hedonistic private life has exposed the burgeoning drug abuse among the country's young elite.
Commonly known as "namak'', the Hindi term for salt, cocaine use has been a popular but highly secret indulgence among businessmen, Bollywood stars and the idle offspring of the rich. It took the death of Mr Mahajan's friend Bibek Moitra, after a party in New Delhi, to expose the extent to which it has grown along with the country's increasing affluence.
Ecstasy use is also growing in popularity among India's young. Read more at The Daily Telegraph (UK).