The arrest and custody of Aryan Khan, son of superstar Shah Rukh Khan, even though it unfolds in its many dimensions and complexities, is a sad and sordid saga.
As we all know, recreational drug use is rampant in many parts of the world, especially among the wealthy sections of society. The fact that most of these drugs are banned or illegal does not prevent their widespread use.
Among the rich and famous in several Indian cities, it’s no secret that drug abuse is common. In many countries, banned substances are freely available and distributed.
When people take a rest or leave the dance floor to return with a sudden surge of extra energy, a euphoric expression on their faces, a particularly dazzling smile, or an increased sparkle in their eyes, one can easily guess that they have just come from. ‘help themselves to something more.
Taking drugs, in other words, is not at all unusual or particularly frowned upon. What’s not socially acceptable, however, is putting on the stage or getting dirty. Drug addiction, of course, is the dirty, dark secret that most affluent families will give an arm and a leg to keep. But these things can never be totally hidden. People are talking; the word ends up circulating. Shame, grief and trauma ensue.
More by Professor Makarand R. Paranjape
Speaking of drug addiction, it is a serious problem in India, especially in border states like Punjab and Manipur. Unlike recreational drugs, it also destroys the lives of the poor, disadvantaged and most vulnerable segments of society. No one, whether rich, middle class or poor, is exempt from it.
And the consequences are devastating for all. The lucky ones can get help and go to rehab. The chances of recovery are good if the addict has willpower in addition to a good support system. But full recovery and rehabilitation, let alone paid employment or restoring social status, are much more difficult to recover.
Node of the problem
This brings us to the crux of the matter. The word “drug” encompasses a wide variety of different meanings and connotations. On the one hand, these are drugs that can save lives. On the other hand, it can refer to narcotic, psychotropic, intoxicating and other highly harmful substances.
Even among the latter, cannabis, which is milder and less addictive, is already legal in some places. But at the other end of the spectrum are dangerous and addictive “hard” drugs like heroin and cocaine.
Yet the truth is that drugs in one form or another, especially poppy products such as opium, have been used since the dawn of civilization. Not only as pain relievers, but as mood enhancers.
It would seem that humanity has always needed one drug or another to make reality acceptable, to alleviate the essential suffering of existence itself. As TS Eliot said, âMankind cannot handle a lot of reality. “
So is it any surprise that alcohol, which is legal in most parts of the world, is the worst and most harmful drug on the planet? Unless you consider tobacco also as an addictive drug, the abuse of which is even more widespread.
The economic damage and workplace losses caused by alcohol abuse are colossal and run into the billions of dollars. In addition, the personal tragedies resulting from alcoholism, including broken families and abusive relationships, are priceless. No wonder some religious traditions prohibit the consumption of alcohol altogether.
Deaths related to alcohol and smoking
Yet alcohol is not only legal, but available in many parts of the world. Its consumption is shown in movies, TV shows and on OTT platforms. In fact, studies show that alcohol-related content is so extensive on these media that some believe the entire entertainment industry would collapse without it.
Others argue that alcohol is the key social lubricant without which interaction with other humans would become virtually unbearable.
According to the WHO and other sources, if alcohol and smoking-related deaths are added together, we have so far reached a staggering figure of over 5 million for 2021, more than those killed by coronavirus pandemic.
With these facts in mind, let’s return to the issue of Aryan’s arrest. Celebrities, especially Bollywood stars, are particularly vulnerable given their pressured lifestyles and constant public attention. Have we forgotten about the suicide of Sushant Singh Rathore, which is also believed to be drug-related?
As the son of a superstar, Aryan could already take on a huge complex of expectations. Being ashamed and degraded in this scandal will only add to his troubles.
This is why the public message of another Bollywood hero, Hrithik Roshan, is so commendable: âLife is a strange raceâ¦ it throws curved balls at you, but God is kind. He only gives the hardest balls to the hardest to play. â¦ Anger, confusion, helplessness. â¦ Those same ingredients could burn the good thingsâ¦ kindness, compassion, love. Allow yourself to burn, but just enough.
Remember “Hey Jude”
As an experienced elder, Roshan urges the young Aryan to “Keep calm.” Observe. These moments are the makers of your Tom[orrow]. And tom[orrow] going to have a bright sun. But for this you have to go through the darkness. â¦ And trust the light. In. It’s still there. I love you man.
Hrithik’s letter is reminiscent of âHey Jude,â the song Paul McCartney wrote to comfort Julian when Julian’s father, John Lennon, left Julian’s mother for Yoko One. In my opinion, Hrithik’s gesture of publicly reaching out to Aryan shows Mumbai’s film industry at its best.
In troubled times, they help not only the nation, but also one another. Even someone perceived to be on the opposite side, Kangna Ranaut, posted “We make mistakes but we must not glorify them … I hope this will give him perspective and also make him realize the consequences of his mistakes. actions … I hope that can make it evolve and make it better and bigger.
What is the lesson of all this? First, that drugs are a complex problem with multiple dimensions. Also, that it is very unfortunate that Aryan, as a young man with a bright future, is going through this heartbreaking episode.
While such questions may occur to us, it is not for us to speculate whether he is really as culpable as is claimed, whether the laws are too tough, or whether government agencies go too far in targeting them. celebrities.
Counterarguments, such as some Indian sadhus or holy men also âsmokeâ in towns like Varanasi but are never stopped, are also somewhat irrelevant.
The lesson that people like us should learn and firmly pass on to our children is much simpler and more straightforward: Say no to drugs. Period.