For BJP veteran Jaswant Singh, the charge that he is a lotus-eater should not really rankle. But trouble is brewing for him after it has been alleged that he served an opium-based drink to a meeting of dissidents at his Barmer home. Now politics has its highs and lows, but it really is a bit of downer to suggest that the former minister be hauled up under the harsh Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
Mr Singh argues that the potion in question was offered by way of tradition and had no opiate content. Even if it did, why is everyone getting their knickers in such a twist? India has a long history of fondness for the weed. Our gods were no slouches when it came to hitting the high spots. Religion, to mangle Marx, was indeed the opiate of both the classes and the masses then. The judicious use of opiates, in fact, is said to heighten creativity. Coleridge wrote his epic Xanadu under the influence and the great Sherlock Holmes was able to crack the best of them after a spot of the good stuff. So, why be such a drag about all this? Before denying Mr Singh’s guests a tot or two, heady or otherwise, let’s not forget that the very life and soul of festivals like Holi revolve around the big bhang theory. What else could make even the shyest wallflower dance with such wild abandon?
The charges appear to be a smokescreen behind which to settle political scores. In that case, Singh should just tell his detractors to put this charge of using opium in their pipes and smoke it. And, for good measure, tell people in grass, sorry glass, houses never to throw stones.