Now, the state’s tourism minister, Charanjit Singh Channi, has said that the state is mulling a law to take action against artistes who “glorify the use of drugs” through songs or films.
Punjab politcians seem to be ostrich-like about the state’s drug problem. First, it was the needless controversy about Udta Punjab, where they were bent upon getting the film banned—or at least, have the title changed—instead of using the opportunity generated by the buzz around the film to talk about the rising addiction amongst the youth. Now, the state’s tourism minister, Charanjit Singh Channi, has said that the state is mulling a law to take action against artistes who “glorify the use of drugs” through songs or films. In the minister’s opinion, as children look up to these stars, any promotion or glorification on their part would attract more towards drugs. While there are studies showing that popular culture can influence drug experimentation, the research on popular culture driving usage is inconclusive. Besides, as data from the National Crime Records Bureau show, drug abuse has been a major problem in the state even before artistes started featuring drug-use in their lyrics or movies.
What the political class needs to realise is that the over-featuring of drugs in songs and movies reflects ground realities. According to BBC, a government study highlights that more than 860,000 young men in the state, between the ages of 15-35, had taken some form of drugs. Punjab feigning ignorance over the drug problem is the same as the US blaming video games for increased violence on the streets. In the US, it is the easy availability of guns that kills people, and not video games. Similarly, the easy availability of drugs in Punjab’s to be blamed, and not artistes rapping about “weed”.