A boy back from his rural home soon after Eid, hacks himself to death with a coconut-seller's cleaver, while screaming to be forgiven for some unknown sins. It’s so absurd and surreal that they sound almost like a cinema scene of the avant garde variety. He was actually taken to the DMCH and there died soon, finally to be located by his relatives a few days later. It shocks everyone and makes people think that something truly foul is on. What was the sin he had committed that he killed himself?
It was considered so foul that even the Chhatra League was moved to take out a procession and demand that police find out immediately what is going on. They blamed the police for complicity which in Bangladesh is no big deal.
LSD, a new yuppie drug?
The police, piqued by all the accusations, went into action and “discovered” a new narcotic doing the rounds - LSD, or 'acid' of Sixties lore. It seems the dead boy had taken some or was an addict and was hallucinating. Soon 5 boys are taken in, all consumers and dealers. It transpires after some prodding that several such groups are active in consuming and handling such fancy drugs. And it’s not a big secret really in the way a section of the media was making it out to be.
Interestingly, the entire LSD crowd belongs to the top -read expensive- private universities and studying business administration, another richie rich subject. Soon they were arrested and taken to the courts but they were seen waving and laughing as they were hauled to the courts, the jail and even almighty remand. The demeanor of the boys was not dampened by all that policing and courting and they seemed a cheerful lot as they headed behind bars.
Dhaka media is deeply offended by the scene. They expect remorse and pain, maybe a touch of tears too to make it look pathetic. But this wasn’t the case. A psychologist on TV, equally offended by all that cheer, explained that LSD may have influenced their behavior. They were also from the privileged class who knew they were not in this soup/halim for long. Probably both are true but what this did was show that even among drug users, there are class and cultural issues.
Yaba, an am janata drug?
We know from experience that the “am janata” narcotic today is yaba and just about everyone – estimates say over 10 million - consume this. And who are these yaba consumers? Well, most of them actually are going to state subsidized universities where people don’t go out in sponge flippers and shorts on their way to jail. They wear proper dress, give the right slogans and are full of middle class patriotism, maybe. And they can be seen to be quite remorseful. At least media thinks so.
Take the case of Minni, Nayan Bond and Reefat and all those mofussil guys living it up in Barguna, wherever it may be, back in 2019. They were having a ball in their outlying district speaking to each other in terrible accents, picked up from computer games and Bollywood movies. And then they kill each other, make killing videos, split time between several husbands and lovers, all on yaba. The utter rusticity of it all is shocking. Granted, death row convict Minnie remained very demure all through after her arrest, and appeared to have fought valiantly to save her husband, but the case report states this was all after she had participated in organising Reefat's gruesome murder. Whatever the details, just imagine the name taken by her lover, “Nayan Bond". You really can’t get more hybrid peasant than this can you!
But then what can you expect from yaba, the drug of choice of the 'aam janata'. Now LSD is a whole new ball game.
Class-based drug consumption?
So what is important is establishing a sort of NID system and voters list. That is each person will have a list of drugs that are entered against their name and they will have the entitlements given against each. The current haphazard situation simply is not good enough. Not everyone should be allowed to consume LSD and not all take yaba particularly if they belong to the monied class anyway.
To each his own socio-economic class, territory and listed drugs. These rustics consuming LSD would be funny. The sight of a ghomta and hijab wearing women doing LSD is not socially right nor is a rich kid from Gulshan who is perpetually popping pills for one reason or the other wearing shorts and yoga bottoms slurping yaba.
Discipline is important in the drugs consumption sector since we have no intention of controlling it. It’s all about class, culture and the spirit of freedom and liberation.
To each class, its own drugs.